Dolgellau’s Elfyn Evans says he is planning another tilt at the World Rally Championship (WRC) title this season after admitting his performances last year fell short of his lofty expectations.
Having finished runner-up in the two previous seasons, Evans and co-driver Scott Martin finished a distant fourth in the drivers’ championship last year, with three retirements costing the duo dearly.
This season, they once again take their place in the Toyota Gazoo Racing team in the GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID car, alongside 22 year-old Finnish sensation Kalle Rovanperä, who won the drivers’ championship in his debut season last time around – the youngest to have ever won the title.
The new season gets underway in Monte-Carlo on Thursday, with live coverage of Sunday’s Power Stage being shown on S4C’s Ralïo at 11am, as well as highlights of the full rally at 9.30pm on Monday.
Evans said: “The WRC off-season is always pretty short but I was still happy to take a bit of a break and now I feel ready to go into the new season.
“Last year fell short of my own expectations personally, but we managed to make some progress and I’m hoping to be able to put better results together this season.
“The team is always working to evolve the car, and twelve months in to the Rally1 era we understand things a lot better. Like always it should be a competitive year but I definitely feel that we’re in a better place to challenge, and to fight for the title remains my goal.”
Having swept the drivers’, co-drivers’ and manufacturers’ world championships titles last year, team Toyota Gazoo are hot favourites to complete a third clean sweep this season.
Eight-time champion Sébastien Ogier will join Evans and Rovanperä this weekend, as he commences another partial schedule of rallies on his home roads in the French Alps – where he will target a record ninth Rallye Monte-Carlo victory
Rallye Monte-Carlo is the oldest and most famous event on the WRC calendar, and often also one of the most demanding. Changeable weather conditions can mean drivers sometimes face dry asphalt and snow and ice in the same stage. As a result, tyre choice is crucial.
Evans added: “Rallye Monte-Carlo is a classic event and one that everyone wants to win.
“It’s always a big challenge, especially with the conditions, but it’s a challenge I enjoy and hopefully we can start the year with a positive result.”
Watch live Ralïo coverage of the Rallye Monte-Carlo Power Stage from 11am on Sunday morning on S4C, with, as well as highlights of the whole rally at 9.30pm on Monday night. Also available on S4C Clic and iPlayer. Follow @RalioS4C on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for rally updates and content.