Late last month, Elfyn Evans’ telephone rang. Finnish number. He recognized it. Answered it.
The question was as straightforward as it was sensible. He and Scott Martin had been through it a bit in their high-speed Rally of Portugal accident.
Toyota’s technical director Tom Fowler takes up the story.
He said: “It was a case of we have a car, we have a road… let’s call Elfyn and ask if he wants to come and drive.
“His response was: ‘Yeah, that would be nice. I’ll hop on a plane.’
“We didn’t talk about it before Italy, it was a very casual thing. We do have a test road in our garden, so Elfyn was able to fly over from Wales and take an afternoon in the car. It was good for him to do that, to get back up to speed – it went really well.”
Evans wasn’t interested in delving too deep into the thinking. For him, it was very straightforward: he was asked if he wanted to drive the world’s fastest rally car on a closed roads in Finland.
He smiled ahead of the response: “When you get the offer, of course, it’s a no-brainer. I was happy and grateful to the team to give me that opportunity.
“It was good to do some mileage, but of course the road in Finland is not the road in Sardinia. I think it wasn’t really a case of trying to prepare in terms of car or setup or anything like that, it was just a case of it: there was a car running for half a day and there was a driver needed. So I think I took the opportunity to drive and I found a pretty OK feeling there straightaway.”
Was there an element of getting back on the horse after those Portuguese rolls?
“I wasn’t particularly worried about [getting back in the car],” he said, “but, again, when the opportunity’s there you never know. Like I said, I took it and everything was fine.”
Evans bounced back from his Portugal crash with a hard-fought fourth place in Sardinia last weekend.