Carlos Sainz, Didier Auriol, Markko Märtin, Sébastien Loeb, Sébastien Ogier, Kris Meeke, Ott Tänak and Elfyn Evans.
These are all the non-Scandinavian to have conquered the World Rally Championship event always traditionally won by Nordic drivers, and particularly flying Finns.
The result of this year’s Rally Finland, the 72nd in its history, doesn’t change any of that. Evans had won here before back in 2021 when the rally unusually ran in the fall.
But Evans’ second Rally Finland win does elevate him into a rather exclusive club. A club only occupied by World Rally champions.
Evans is one of just three non-Finns to win Rally Finland more than once.
Loeb was the very first to do it.
When Marcus Grönholm competed, nobody ever really stood a chance in Finland. So when he retired at the end of 2007, Loeb spied his chance.
In an epic fight which Loeb still ranks as one of, if not his best ever win, Loeb defeated Ford’s Mikko Hirvonen by just nine seconds to win 2008 Rally Finland.
Hirvonen got his revenge in 2009 and Jari-Matti Latvala won in 2010, but Loeb saw them both off in 2011 and ’12 when the 1.6-liter World Rally Car era was ushered in.
Tänak has also won Rally Finland three times, and took two of those wins back-to-back.
The Estonian’s double came in 2018 and ’19 when strapped into the Finnish-developed Toyota Yaris WRC.
His third was claimed in a Hyundai, and like Loeb’s 2008 success is regarded as one of his best ever drives.
Ragging absolutely everything that he could out of his i20 N Rally1, Tänak did the unthinkable and kept world champion to-be Kalle Rovanperä at bay in thrilling circumstances to win in 2022.
Evans’ first Rally Finland win interrupted Tänak’s streak.
In 2021, much like this year, Evans’ world title hopes were fading but a victory in Finland reinvigorated some hope.
And in similar fashion to 2023, Evans found a devastating rhythm on Saturday to romp clear, ooze confidence and claim a classy victory.
Evans’ second Rally Finland win is the seventh victory of his WRC career and the first repeat win, having won six different events prior to now.
But the most important element of it is the renewed hope that, even if it’s not this year, drives like this mean Evans still clearly has the potential to join Loeb and Tänak in a rather more special club of becoming World Rally champion.