Mäkinen lauds “new stars” Rovanperä and Evans

Toyota team boss ecstatic with his drivers' Sweden performance

Elfyn Evans Toyota WRC Rally Sweden 2020

Toyota World Rally Championship team boss Tommi Mäkinen thought about his answer, but realised he didn’t have to think too long.

Fastest time on two of the day’s four stages and Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanperä running first and third were worthy of big Finnish smile.

“We have a couple of new stars born,” Mäkinen told DirtFish.

“Elfyn is flying and smiling, absolutely flying.

“We knew in Monte Carlo what he was capable of, to drive in these changeable conditions on asphalt, but this is fantastic.

“I think we can definitely say now that Elfyn likes the car!”

Finnskogen, the day’s second stage and the short Torsby Sprint test, were the only blots on the Welshman’s otherwise perfect copybook; he was a close second fastest to Ott Tänak on both.

For Rovanperä, there was more praise. The WRC rookie had briefly been second ahead of Tänak before a spin on the Torsby sprint stage.

Mäkinen added: “He has gone very, very well. This morning there was nothing to say, we had no special conversation it was just to keep them motivated to go flat out.”

Rovanperäa admitted his morning had been slightly scrappier than he might have hoped.

“We stalled a couple of times,” he said. “We didn’t lose a lot of time and then we went off the road a little bit on the third stage – the note was a little bit optimistic.

“After that I took it steady a little bit to make sure the car was OK.”

Evans holds an 8.5s advantage over Tänak’s Hyundai with 19-year-old Rovanperä 14.3s off the lead.