Toyota: Evans can win Mexico from first on the road

Kaj Lindström is confident his title-leading man can win again

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Toyota sporting director Kaj Lindström has reminded his World Rally Championship-leading driver Elfyn Evans of the merits of the long game as the Welshman prepares to lead the field into a Friday for the first time in his career.

Victory last time out in Sweden propelled Evans to first in the title race, but Friday’s first day of gravel stages for Rally México is the flip-side of that table-topping achievement. With the predicted overnight rain not doing its thing, Evans will be forced to sweep the loose stuff aside preparing a faster line for the cars behind.

As a WRC rally-winning co-driver and as sporting director of the 2018 title-winning Toyota team, Lindström has experienced all of those conditions before.

“It’s possible for [Elfyn] to win,” the Finn told DirtFish, “it’s always possible to win, but you have to be realistic and pick the fight for the win. It’s a long season and maybe sometimes you have to accept that you’re not going to win all of the rallies and there are some that simply you can’t win. Maybe it’s better to play the long game on these events. If Elfyn can stay in touch and stay close through Friday, then then he can still have a reasonable place [on the road] for Saturday and Sunday.

“Let’s see.”

Evans starts day one proper just 1.1s behind Thierry Neuville following Thursday night’s brace of Guanajuato street stages.

The championship leader admitted the dash through the tunnels at one of the season’s most recognisable and beautiful stages was an early Mexican highlight.

He said: “It’s always an incredible atmosphere to start this event – there’s no crowd like it. We perhaps don’t get to fully enjoy the ceremony, because we have to go straight into two stages, but it’s still a great experience.

“It was an OK start for me, being second quickest on both stages. In shakedown I had a good feeling from the very first run. The car felt pretty good, so overall I’m happy. It’s a very long and tough event so we have to try and give our best effort and try to keep out of trouble.”