Toyota: Keeping Evans for next season "main target"

Toyota Team Principal Jari-Matti Latvala says keeping Elfyn Evans for next season is his “main target”.

Listen to this article

Evans agreed terms with the Japanese squad in 2019 and only has seven months to run on his contract.

His move followed a 10-year spell with M-Sport Ford, the team with whom he won his first WRC round.

In his maiden campaign driving the Yaris, Evans finished a close second in the World Rally title battle to teammate and champion Sebastien Ogier, who is retiring from full-time WRC action in December.

With Ogier’s impending departure, that creates the possibility of Evans inheriting number one status – a role Latvala believes he would be more than capable of executing given his speed and consistency.

“We have been very happy with the performance of Elfyn,” Latvala told Motorsport.com. “Over the last one-and-a-half years in the World Rally Championship driving the Yaris, he has taken big steps in his career.

Read Also:

Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Photo by: Toyota Racing

“So, for sure, our main target is to keep him in the team. I also think he has been growing, so I don’t see a problem when, next year, Sebastien is only doing selected events and Elfyn would be, let’s say, a number one or the leading driver,” he added.

“Our target is to have strong drivers next year. Right now, all of them are able to win rallies – that is the most ideal situation we want to have [for 2022].”

As for Evans, he is not allowing contract talk to cloud his focus ahead of this week’s Rally de Portugal.

For the Welshman, his immediate priority is trying to narrow the points lead that is enjoyed by Ogier.

“We are focusing on the next few summer months, which are pretty busy with events and testing, so for the moment that’s taking priority,” he told Motorsport.com.

“It has been a very competitive start to the season and our target is to go to every rally well prepared and focused on being able to challenge for victory,” he added.

“We will take it event by event and concentrate on the job in hand at each round.”

“It hasn’t been a bad start to the season,” added Evans, whose last podium finish at Rally de Portugal, the first gravel round of the current campaign, came in 2018.

“Yes, there could have been a few more points to be had [on the first three rounds], especially after losing out by such a small margin in Croatia, but we’ve shown our performance on Tarmac is there. Hopefully we can continue that on gravel.”

shares
comments

Related video

Ogier: WRC should have been "more innovative" with new rules
Previous article

Ogier: WRC should have been "more innovative" with new rules

Next article

M-Sport confident of landing world title contender for 2022

M-Sport confident of landing world title contender for 2022
Load comments
The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera Prime

The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera

Kalle Rovanpera’s 2022 World Rally Championship displays have been spectacular, with the Toyota driver benefitting from a secret weapon in his crew to win two of the opening three rallies. But while the former challenger to Sebastien Loeb won’t take credit for his fellow Finn's performances, a key bond has been formed which could prove key to Rovanpera’s title charge

WRC
Apr 29, 2022
How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals Prime

How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals

After a dominating Rally Croatia, a wrong tyre choice on the final day looked to have undone all Kalle Rovanpera's hard work and left him with a mountain to climb heading into the power stage. That he emerged the winner all the same has surely quelled any lingering doubts that the Finn is the man to beat in the 2022 WRC

WRC
Apr 25, 2022
How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021 Prime

How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021

It's fair to say 2021 was a year to forget for Pierre-Louis Loubet. A maiden full World Rally Championship season offered hope but soon turned into a nightmare that ended in hospital, after being hit by a car in a road traffic accident. Now handed a lifeline by M-Sport, the Frenchman is desperate to rebuild his career

WRC
Apr 20, 2022
Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect Prime

Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect

The drivers get the glare of attention, but it’s the mechanics who are key to the operation of any World Rally Championship car. Motorsport.com donned a set of overalls and joined M-Sport on a Belgian national rally event to get an inside look into the life of a rally mechanic.

WRC
Apr 17, 2022
The African McRae aiming to become a WRC pioneer Prime

The African McRae aiming to become a WRC pioneer

Taking his first step into the Junior World Rally Championship category, McRae Kimathi - named after 1995 world champion Colin - found himself in the unfamiliar climes of Sweden's snow and ice. Having impressed, Kimathi hopes to blaze a trail to the top level of WRC and help other African drivers to step onto the ladder

WRC
Mar 8, 2022
How Rovanpera grabbed the Rally Sweden spotlight Prime

How Rovanpera grabbed the Rally Sweden spotlight

After a blockbuster opening act to the new era of the World Rally Championship with the battle of the Sebastiens at Monte Carlo, Rally Sweden would be the first chance to assess the next superstar of rallying. While teething issues with the new hybrid power thwarted some of the cast, Kalle Rovanpera’s display gave him headline billing

WRC
Feb 28, 2022
The "painful" journey behind the WRC's generational tech innovation Prime

The "painful" journey behind the WRC's generational tech innovation

As the company selected to provide the hybrid kits for the 2022 World Rally Championship, the pressure was on Compact Dynamics at the Monte Carlo season opener. Needing to treat all three manufacturers equally, it wasn't a straightforward process, but its first big test was a resounding success that bodes well for the future.

WRC
Feb 25, 2022
The mentality shift key to Lappi’s shot at WRC redemption Prime

The mentality shift key to Lappi’s shot at WRC redemption

He appeared poised to become the World Rally Championship’s new bright young star five years ago, but Esapekka Lappi's fortunes since his 2017 breakthrough win offer a cautionary tale of how the tables can turn. Now having rebuilt his career, the Finn is determined to make the most of his second shot at the big time with Toyota.

WRC
Feb 23, 2022