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WRC Rally Monte Carlo

Evans predicts “very open” WRC 2022 title fight without Ogier

Elfyn Evans says the 2022 World Rally Championship is "very open" and isn't placing himself as the favourite now rival Sebastien Ogier is set for a partial campaign.

Elfyn Evans, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

The Toyota driver has finished runner-up to teammate Ogier in the last two seasons having taken the championship fight down to the wire in 2020 and 2021.

With Ogier calling time on his full-time WRC career after lifting an eighth world title, Evans appears among the early contenders to challenge for the crown next year as the top category in rallying welcomes new Rally1 hybrid regulations.

While Evans has come close to the title for two years in succession, the Welshman believes there will several contenders for the title next year despite Ogier’s absence.

Evans is also wary that another variable which will help determine the outcome of next year’s championship is the pathways taken by teams in developing their new Rally1 cars.

“I think next year it is still very open, let’s say there are many quick drivers in the championship now who are still very quick to beat and of course with the hybrid regulations there are still a lot of unknowns,” Evans told Motorsport.com.

"It could be very difficult to come out with the best car even. We have to see what next year brings.”

As a result of Ogier’s decision to scale back his WRC commitments, Evans will become the oldest and most experienced driver in Toyota’s full-time driver line-up next season, alongside Kalle Rovanpera and Takamoto Katsuta.

Elfyn Evans, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Elfyn Evans, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Photo by: Toyota Racing

But according to Evans that won’t mean he will take on a team leader role, with Toyota adopting an equal status structure among its drivers.

“I might be the oldest and perhaps the one with the most experience but we also know the structure within Toyota is very equal,” he added.

“There is not more weight behind one driver or another and I think that is the best way.

“We all get along very well. It is also great to have Seb still involved and we can bounce off each other like we have done this year.”

Evans’ preparations for the 2022 season haven’t been completely smooth after suffering a crash while testing the new GR Yaris in November.

However, Toyota remains reasonably confident its new car is ready following a recent test in France ahead of next season’s Monte Carlo season opener from 20-23 January.

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