What Evans must do to fight again in 2023

Toyota driver plans to adapt his own driving to the new Rally1 machinery after struggling to get to grips with it this year


Elfyn Evans has accepted that he needs to tune his driving style to the Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 in order to fight for next year’s World Rally Championship title.

Evans was widely tipped to be world champion in 2022 – the first season for the new hybrid Rally1 cars – given he’d finished second to Toyota team-mate Sébastien Ogier for the previous two campaigns, and Ogier was scaling back his commitment to the WRC.

But it just hasn’t happened for Evans this season, as team-mate Kalle Rovanperä romped to a maiden world title with six victories from 12 rallies so far while Evans hasn’t won any and can’t finish any higher than fourth in the championship.


A powerstage time on the recent Rally Spain that was just 0.039 seconds slower than fellow Toyota driver Takamoto Katsuta typified Evans’ situation as that cost him an additional bonus point.

“I wish the margins were 0.039s to the fastest, it’s quite a lot to be honest, it’s definitely not been a great rally and not a great season at that either,” Evans told DirtFish.

“So, we know there’s work to do, that’s not news to us. We’ll continue working and see what’s possible.

“Of course, we need to make some big steps forward really in preparation for next year.”


Evans’ biggest problem has been getting on top of this year’s car, which has a far less advanced aerodynamic package than its Yaris WRC predecessor.

Throughout the Rally Spain weekend, Evans felt he was “going round in circles” with the setup, admitting that adapting the car to his particular driving style has led to issues getting up to speed on the stages.

“I’m quite a fussy driver when it comes to the car suiting me,” said Evans. “The car is clearly very competitive and working well at the hands of my team-mates, so there are no problems – it’s clearly just not suiting me at the moment.

“I just don’t feel like we’re making the breakthrough I’d hoped for, let’s say, basically I just don’t have the feeling or the confidence I am really looking for,” he added.

“Maybe my expectations are a bit high maybe, I don’t know, but I’m struggling for full confidence and to be able to make things work.

In the past I was able to have so many options to find what I wanted. And now we're so restricted and to be honest, the guys have adapted better. So it's as simple as that Elfyn Evans on his 2022 struggles

“I want to be fighting at the front obviously. There’s no question, it’s frustrating. I think it’s partly you know, the new regulations.

“In the past I was able to have so many options to find what I wanted. And now we’re so restricted and to be honest, the guys have adapted better. So it’s as simple as that.”

Toyota technical director Tom Fowler told DirtFish after Rally New Zealand that he didn’t feel Evans needed to adapt his driving style to the Rally 1 car, instead pointing out that a fresh start next year should act as a good tonic.

But when asked if there was anything particular that didn’t work for him with the Rally1 car compared to the old WRC or if it was a range of things, Evans suggested the more restricted setup meant he now has no choice but to adapt himself to the car rather than bring the car towards him.


“I think it’s a lot of different factors, you know, the cars are completely different,” he said.

“There was a lot more flexibility with the setup last year. And I think within reason you could tune a car to your style a bit more. Whereas now I think you have to tune your style to the car.

“That’s ultimately where I think my work needs to be now for next year.”

Asked if that’s a process Evans has already begun, he quipped: “Not very well by the looks of it!”

But Evans has consciously thought about the fact he will need to start driving the car differently as well as chasing the optimum setup that works for him.

“Yeah, definitely. I think that yes, there is.

“But there’s also a few areas with the car perhaps as well that we can also work on to sort of, not meet in the middle but, you know, find a compromise somewhere to get that more confident and trustworthy feeling.”