Ott Tänak says his longtime M-Sport stablemate Elfyn Evans hugely deserves the success that has come his way since moving to Tänak’s former team Toyota.
Evans left the M-Sport fold for this first time in his World Rally Championship career this winter as part of the huge driver reshuffle in which Toyota went from a Tänak, Jari-Matti Latvala and Kris Meeke line-up to Evans, Sébastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanperä, while Tänak switched to Hyundai.
Both Tänak and Evans had been part of M-Sport’s line-up for most of the 2010s, before Tänak preceded Evans’ 2020 switch by moving to Toyota for the 2018 season.
Having finished third in Monte Carlo’s season-opener and then dominated Rally Sweden, Evans now leads the WRC standings for the first time in his career – success that reigning champion Tänak certainly does not begrudge him.
“He’s always been a very hard-working driver,” Tänak told DirtFish.
“I’ve been doing testing with him in the past in M-Sport and I always saw how hard he works on every detail. He definitely deserves this.”
Tänak also thinks Evans will be benefiting from being part of a fully-fledged manufacturer team for the first time, with M-Sport having only had limited backing from Ford during both of the pair’s spells there.
“He deserves this general position where he is in a proper manufacturer team with some very good backing,” Tänak added.
“It’s also good for his general life. It’s not just about driving the best, it’s about driving easier. He definitely deserves it.”