Safari WRC: Toyota's Evans out early after hitting a rock

Elfyn Evans has been forced to retire from the Safari Rally's opening day after hitting a rock in a brutal third stage of the World Rally Championship event.

Listen to this article

The Toyota driver had been running strongly in the particularly challenging 32.68km Kedong test, the longest of the rally, when drama struck.

Evans, running fourth overall, made a minor cut on a slight right-hander heading into a left turn but clipped a rock in the process, which damaged his front-right suspension leaving his wheel hanging off the car.

The incident happened a little more than kilometre from the end of the stage but the Welshman was unable to drag the Yaris to the finish and became bogged in the sand at the side of the road.

Evans attempted to repair the car but the damage was too severe and has been forced to retire from Friday’s action.

Co-driver Scott Martin did remove the rock to ensure the road was clear for other competitors.

It is hoped he will return on Saturday under Rally 2 restart regulations but will now likely miss out on an important haul of championship points.

“We have just confirmed that Elfyn has retired from the day, unfortunately they are not able to repair the car,” said Toyota boss Jari-Matti Latvala.

“There is huge rock on a slight right-hand corner into a left and he went too much on one side and hit the rock and damaged the suspension.

“They tried to repair it but it is too complicated so unfortunately he had to retire and he was only less than a kilometre from the end of the stage.

Latvala added: “It always helps when it is like this at the end of a stage and the road section from the stage to service is not long so I’m really confident we can get it out quite quickly.”

Read Also:

Evans was not the only victim of the stage as Hyundai’s Dani Sordo endured a wild moment with the Spaniard firing off the road at speed and into a ditch.

Sordo’s retirement is yet to be confirmed but his i20 was stranded at the side of the road and is expected to return to the rally on Saturday.

"For sure we clearly asked them to maybe to try to understand the performance levels and Dani to be the reliable one but it looks like he didn’t get the message clear so maybe it looks like I need to be more clear in the future," said Hyundai boss Andrea Adamo.

Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville led the rally with one more stage of the morning loop to be completed.

shares
comments

Related video

Kenya's level playing field a "best chance" for M-Sport
Previous article

Kenya's level playing field a "best chance" for M-Sport

Next article

Safari WRC: Neuville leads as Evans and Sordo crash out

Safari WRC: Neuville leads as Evans and Sordo crash out
Load comments
Why Loeb v Ogier duel gave the WRC's new hybrid era the ideal start Prime

Why Loeb v Ogier duel gave the WRC's new hybrid era the ideal start

OPINION: Any lingering concerns about the new-for-2022 Rally1 hybrid cars were dispelled by a blockbuster opening round to the World Rally Championship in Monte Carlo. The duel between Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier created a perfect feel-good story that will carry the series forward into its new era.

WRC
14 h
How Monte masters stole the show as WRC's hybrid era blasted off Prime

How Monte masters stole the show as WRC's hybrid era blasted off

The new Rally1 hybrid cars made their competition debuts in Monte Carlo, but it was two semi-retired drivers who took centre stage in a thrilling battle between two of the World Rally Championship's most successful names. Here's how Sebastien Loeb completed a remarkable return on his M-Sport debut by beating reigning champion Sebastien Ogier

WRC
Jan 24, 2022
The WRC heirs scrapping to assume Ogier's throne in 2022 Prime

The WRC heirs scrapping to assume Ogier's throne in 2022

Eight-time World Rally Championship king Sebastien Ogier has abdicated (well, gone part-time) in 2022, meaning for just the second time in the past decade we will have a different champion this year. We pick out the drivers gunning to take his place and take over the mantle as the WRC's new ruler

WRC
Jan 20, 2022
The WRC star that's earned the right to lead M-Sport's revival Prime

The WRC star that's earned the right to lead M-Sport's revival

Part-time opportunities with Citroen and Hyundai have offered brief glimpses of what Craig Breen can do in a World Rally Championship car. Now signed up by M-Sport to lead it into the WRC's new hybrid era, Breen has been given the chance he's pursued for so long and is determined to make the most of it

WRC
Jan 18, 2022
Why the WRC's 'modern Group B' era was rallying at its bonkers best Prime

Why the WRC's 'modern Group B' era was rallying at its bonkers best

The World Rally Championship has brought down the curtain on the aggressive, aero-laden generation of cars first introduced in 2017 that have been likened to the 1980s Group B icons. As the championship prepares to begin a new era of Rally1 hybrid cars, its stars explain just why the outgoing machines were so special

WRC
Dec 24, 2021
Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2021

On the eve of a new hybrid era for the World Rally Championship, the 2021 season was a blockbuster fought out between Toyota's two top dogs, with a familiar figure eventually emerging on top after a final showdown at Monza. We pick out the 10 best performers from the top class and its supporting cast

WRC
Dec 21, 2021
Why Ogier's WRC swansong was a season to savour Prime

Why Ogier's WRC swansong was a season to savour

He’s shuffling into semi-rally-retirement, but Toyota star Sebastien Ogier was at the peak of his powers in the final season for the high downforce era-World Rally Championship cars. Despite Toyota's domination, there was still much to enjoy as the old master emerged atop a fierce title fight against teammate Elfyn Evans.

WRC
Dec 19, 2021
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Prime

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021