Toyota can still win the title without Rovanperä – Fowler

Tom Fowler has full confidence Elfyn Evans can pick up the baton Kalle Rovanperä is dropping for a year

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Toyota technical director Tom Fowler has full confidence in the team’s 2024 lineup to maintain the Japanese manufacturer’s stranglehold on the World Rally Championship silverware.

Fowler’s cars have won the last three manufacturers’ championships and five drivers’ titles. While Kalle Rovanperä won’t retain his crown for next season, Fowler is sure that Elfyn Evans can step up to take it from the 2024 part-time Finn.

“If you look at the stats from our team it’s three wins from three drivers,” Fowler told DirtFish. “We’ve got the depth to accept this [Rovanperä] situation.

“There’s a lot of people commenting on what Kalle should and shouldn’t be doing, but in the end it’s Kalle’s business. It’s his decision and anybody commenting on that, it’s by-the-by.

“I have nothing to say about his decision, it’s up to him. We’re a sports team. We have a lineup and we have depth in our lineup which is good enough to withstand this kind of situation and will do our absolute best to win as always.”

On the subject of Evans, the answer is delivered even before the question (Does Evans have a title in him?) is completed.

Fowler: “Yes. Without a doubt.

“No year is ever a guarantee, but there is no question from my point of view. When Elfyn first landed here in a Yaris WRC, before the Rally1 car, he was immediately on the pace and immediately fighting for championships.

“You don’t change car, change team and come to the first event of the season and smash it without having some quality behind you.

“He’s got that.”

Evans’ 2023 silver medal was his third runner-up spot in the last four years.