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
The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0 Prime

The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0

Two decades after Petter Solberg emerged as a World Rally Championship winner, his son Oliver is ready to take the WRC by storm. Having secured a part-time WRC factory drive for Hyundai in 2022, he's raring to repay the marque's faith in him and follow in his 2003 champion father's footsteps

WRC
Oct 14, 2021
Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season Prime

Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season

The World Rally Championship will step into a new hybrid era in 2022, but the car changes haven't been the only excitement that has built within the paddock. WRC's 'silly season' kicked off in a big way and all the key driver moves for 2022 - of which there are many - look set to shake things up.

WRC
Oct 13, 2021
Why winning in Finland was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age Prime

Why winning in Finland was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age

By his own admission, the fifth World Rally Championship victory of Elfyn Evans' career in Finland last weekend was the drive of his life. Winning five stages in a row and soaking up huge pressure from the Hyundais on the fastest gravel stages around, the Welshman put in a faultless showing that proved what he is truly made of

WRC
Oct 4, 2021
Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant? Prime

Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains Prime

How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Prime

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Prime

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021
Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit? Prime

Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit?

OPINION: The Ypres Rally featured a cameo from the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in its final stage, giving WRC teams the chance to experience its iconic corners in rallying machinery. It proved to be an engaging addition to the rally, and could perhaps serve as an example for other events to visit famous circuits

WRC
Aug 24, 2021