Toyota team principal Tommi Mäkinen says he has “no words” after World Rally Championship points leader Elfyn Evans retired from Saturday’s leg of Monza Rally.
Evans was third overall, 7.5 seconds behind his title rival, team-mate and rally leader Sébastien Ogier, heading into SS11 when it all went wrong.
In the treacherous, snowy conditions, Evans lost the rear of his Toyota and slid down a bank and into retirement. Ogier was the next car on the scene and almost went off himself, despite being slowed by Evans’ co-driver Scott Martin.
Mäkinen was at a loss to describe what he had witnessed.
“It’s crazy, crazy conditions,” he said. “There is no words only [that] we won’t see a new champion.
“He handled it [the pressure] very well, he handled it all the time very well and he did an incredible drive, no question of that.
“Maybe he was a bit too fast, maybe, maybe, but it’s so difficult to understand which is the correct speed when you are doing such a difficult condition.
“[It’s a] hard time.”
Evans headed to the Monza Rally 14 points clear of Ogier in the championship, but the best score he can hope for now is five points from Sunday’s powerstage.
Ogier is therefore on course to steal the title from him as he leads the rally from Hyundai’s Dani Sordo and will collect 25 points if he wins the rally.