WRC Rally Finland: Evans claims win, more than halves WRC points deficit

WRC Finland: Evans claims win, more than halves WRC points deficit

Toyota WRC driver Elfyn Evans has won Rally Finland for the second time in his career. The Welshman claimed the maximum 30 points after winning the final Power Stage as well.

Evans inherited the lead of the event after SS8 on Friday afternoon after his team-mate and championship leader Kalle Rovanperä, rally leader up to that point, went off the road. At the end of Friday, Evans’ led the event by 6.9 seconds and extended his lead to 32.1 seconds after a dominant performance on Saturday, when he won seven of the day’s eight stages.

On Sunday, Evans’ defended his comfortable lead without drama and went on to win by 39.1 seconds in the end. The Welshman won the final Power Stage by 0.9s over Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville to claim the maximum 30 points, meaning that Evans’ points deficit in the championship is now more than halved, from 55 points to 25 points.

Katsuta holds of Suninen for P3

Neuville couldn’t match Evans’ pace on the fast forests roads but was ”relieved” with his first podium in Finland since 2013. Takamoto Katsuta held off Teemu Suninen on the final day for the final podium spot, finishing on the podium for the first time in a European rally.

Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala finished his one-off Rally1 drive in P5 overall behind Suninen and ahead of Oliver Solberg.

Solberg wasn’t registered in the WRC2 for this event but won the Rally2 (RC2) class in Finland by just over half a minute ahead of Sami Pajari who took his first WRC2 win of his career. The young Finn’s margin over second-placed Adrien Fourmaux was 33.8s.

Nikolay Gryazin and Andreas Mikkelsen rounded off the top 10. Mikkelsen’s P4 finish in the WRC2 meant that he is now the WRC2 championship leader.

Rovanperä’s championship lead more than halved

Evans boosted his WRC title hopes with the rally win in Finland. Championship leader Kalle Rovanperä’s lead is reduced from 55 points to 25 points heading into round 10 at the Acropolis Rally next month.

Neuville stays in third in the championship but is now 36 points shy of Rovanperä thanks to his 22 points achieved this weekend.

Ott Tänak’s title hopes took a big hit in Finland, with the Estonian staying on 104 points following his retirement. The 2019 WRC champion is still 66 points behind Rovanperä, but there are now just four rounds to go.

Toyota extended their lead in the Manufacturer’s standings by 10 points to 67 points in total with their double podium finish in Finland.

Next up for the WRC is a month’s summer break until round 10 of the championship at the mythical Acropolis Rally Greece from september 7 – 10. There are four more rounds to go for this year’s WRC season, with Rally Chile, the Central European Rally and Rally Japan after the Acropolis Rally.

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WRC Rally Finland 2023 – Results

#DriversCarTime / Diff. to 1st
1.Evans / MartinToyota GR Yaris Rally12:33:11.3
2.Neuville / WydaegheHyundai i20 N Rally1+39.1
3.Katsuta / JohnstonToyota GR Yaris Rally1+1:36.7
4.Suninen / MarkkulaHyundai i20 N Rally1+1:41.0
5.Latvala / HänninenToyota GR Yaris Rally1+4:09.4
6.Solberg / EdmondsonSkoda Fabia RS Rally2+9:33.6
7.Pajari / MälkönenSkoda Fabia RS Rally2+10:03.7
8.Fourmaux / CoriaFord Fiesta Rally2+10:37.5
9.Gryazin / AleksandrovSkoda Fabia RS Rally2+11:11.5
10.Mikkelsen / EriksenSkoda Fabia RS Rally2+11:35.2

WRC 2023 Drivers’ Championship – Standings after Round 9/13 [Top 10]

1.Kalle Rovanperä170
2.Elfyn Evans145
3.Thierry Neuville134
4.Ott Tänak104
5.Sébastien Ogier98
6.Esapekka Lappi87
7.Takamoto Katsuta58
8.Dani Sordo46
9.Teemu Suninen34
10.Pierre-Louis Loubet28

WRC 2023 Manufacturers’ Championship – Standings after Round 9/13

1.Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT378
2.Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT311
3.M-Sport Ford WRT205

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool