Turkey WRC: Evans takes dramatic win, points lead

Toyota driver Elfyn Evans won Rally Turkey and soared back to the top of the WRC drivers’ standings after a day of high drama.

Turkey WRC: Evans takes dramatic win, points lead

The Welshman took a cautious approach throughout what is the most attritional event on the WRC calendar. His reward was a third career victory in the sport’s premier series and the second of his debut season with Tommi Makinen’s Toyota team. 

The final day began with Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville and Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier picking up the cudgels to continue their furious battle at the top of the order. Both men picked up punctures on the first stage of the day, the notorious 38km Cetibeli test, as did the third place man overnight, Hyundai’s veteran Sebastien Loeb.

So it was that Evans’s game of patience paid dividends as he emerged from the stage with a mighty 47-second advantage over the erstwhile leaders. 

Neuville drove flat-out on the first run through Marmaris to leap-frog Ogier into second and attempt to close the gap in case Evans suffered the slightest delay. On the second pass through Cetibeli, Ogier’s Yaris WRC finally began emitting smoke and the six-time champion retired.

The Frenchman’s misfortune saw his former nemesis, nine-time world champion Loeb, elevated back into the podium places in the second Hyundai.

Team tactics were hard to manage amid such dramatic changes in fortune but Hyundai played its joker in the form of Ott Tanak, who had restarted out of the points battle after dropping out with steering failure on Saturday morning.

The Estonian took a road penalty to push Ogier in front of him and slotted into place in front of his two teammates on the penultimate stage.

After launching away from the start with purpose, Tanak then parked up and allowed both Neuville and Loeb through in front of him to minimise the number of rocks pulled up in their path before taking a gentle trundle through to the end.

Tanak’s focus was squarely on the five bonus points available for winning the final Power Stage on the second run through Marmaris.

Laden with only one spare tyre and running the softest rubber that he dared, Tanak set a blistering time of 4m 20.8s as his best shot at claiming the five bonus points that might help to retain his 2019 drivers’ crown.

Both Loeb and Kalle Rovanpera in the second surviving Toyota were focused on bringing home their hard-earned manufacturers’ points and so it was left to Neuville to throw his car through Marmaris with abandon, shading Tanak by 0.4s to maximise his bonus points. 

Evans took a much gentler approach and settled for two bonus points on top of his victory. He now holds an 18-point advantage over teammate Ogier with two rounds remaining.

Tanak’s Power Stage points keep him level with Rovanpera in third in the points, while Neuville’s 23-point haul from Turkey brings him back into contention a further five points adrift. Toyota remains at the top of the manufacturers’ standings by nine points.

In the WRC2 category, points leader Mads Ostberg was absent from the cockpit and this allowed fellow WRC refugee Pontus Tidemand’s Skoda to take his second victory of the year and claim a narrow lead in the standings.

With neither Ole Christian Veiby or Nikolay Gryazin present for Hyundai, the Swede’s nearest challenger was Frenchman Adrien Fourmaux in M-Sport’s Fiesta with Eyvind Brynildsen coming home a distant third after several issues through the weekend.

In the WRC3 category, victory went to the Skoda of Kajetan Kajetanowicz, the Pole keeping in front of Bolivia’s Marco Bulacia and local hero Yagiz Avci.

Rally results:

Cla Driver/Codriver Car Total Time Gap Interval
1 United Kingdom Elfyn Evans
United Kingdom Scott Martin
Toyota Yaris WRC 2:43'02.700    
2 Belgium Thierry Neuville
Belgium Nicolas Gilsoul
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 2:43'37.900 35.200 35.200
3 France Sébastien Loeb
Monaco Daniel Elena
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 2:44'02.100 59.400 24.200
4 Finland Kalle Rovanperä
Finland Jonne Halttunen
Toyota Yaris WRC 2:45'38.600 2'35.900 1'36.500
5 United Kingdom Gus Greensmith
United Kingdom Elliott Edmondson
Ford Fiesta WRC 2:47'11.000 4'08.300 1'32.400
6 Finland Esapekka Lappi
Finland Janne Ferm
Ford Fiesta WRC 2:48'38.900 5'36.200 1'27.900
shares
comments
Interview: Pirelli’s Terenzio Testoni on 2021 WRC plans
Previous article

Interview: Pirelli’s Terenzio Testoni on 2021 WRC plans

Next article

Evans wary of title chances after winning “lottery” in Turkey

Evans wary of title chances after winning “lottery” in Turkey
Load comments
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
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Prime

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, we pick out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Prime

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend Prime

How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend

OPINION: Adding an eighth WRC title to his name, Sebastien Ogier has bowed out from full-time rallying in style. Having been compared throughout his career with nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb, Ogier has convincingly demonstrated that he can stand on his own as one of the greatest rally drivers in history

WRC
Nov 22, 2021
How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend Prime

How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend

This weekend's Rally Monza marks the end of an era in the World Rally Championship, as Sebastien Ogier prepares to bring down the curtain on his full-time career with an eighth title. For all his enduring success, the Toyota driver reveals in an exclusive interview that lingering insecurities have compelled his quest for perfection

WRC
Nov 18, 2021
The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC Prime

The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC

The McRae family name is steeped in rallying history, with eight British titles between Jimmy, Colin and Alister - plus the small matter of the 1995 WRC title too. Next on the conveyor of talent is Alister's 17-year-old Max McRae, who’s setting out in Australia to conquer the world of rallying and return the famous name to the WRC...

WRC
Nov 12, 2021
Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era Prime

Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era

As the World Rally Championship undergoes its biggest shift in regulations for a generation, teams are taking radical measures to prepare for its new era. Hyundai's unique approach involved conducting a private 1500km rally in Italy and Motorsport.com went to see how the team is preparing for 2022

WRC
Nov 4, 2021
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Prime

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021