Elfyn Evans dominates the opening stages of Monte Carlo Rally

Elfyn Evans dominates the opening stages of Monte Carlo Rally

Elfyn Evans seized command of the Monte Carlo Rally on Thursday by winning the first two stages as he launched his quest for an elusive first-ever WRC title.

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Elfyn Evans got off to a flawless start by winning both of the night stages that made up the first leg across the French Alps’ mountain roads. Using the best tyre strategy and starting first on the road Evans was able to jump to an early lead in the Monte Carlo Rally earning a 15.1 second advantage over Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville after just two stages.

Evans’s concerns that he hadn’t used all of his grip during the opening stage were quickly dispelled as he finished 5.2 seconds ahead of everyone else. As others gave in and utilized at least one supersoft tyre on each stage, the Toyota de facto team leader boasted the best tyre strategy by using a full set of softs through every stage.

In theoretical terms, Pirelli’s ultrasoft compound was the less suitable tyre for the weather given the unusually high temperatures in the Alps, which soared up to 17°C (63°F) without any snow or ice in sight.

Hyundai had a challenging evening as each of its three entries encountered issues. Ott Tänak finished the loop in fourth place (+22.8s) despite facing a throttle issue, trailing nine-time Monte Carlo winner Sébastien Ogier (+21.6s) in third place.

M-Sport’s Adrien Fourmaux put together an incredible performance to record the fifth fastest time, 16.2 seconds faster than Toyota’s Katsuta and Munster’s second M-Sport Ford Puma in sixth and seventh respectively.

Reigning WRC2 champion Andreas Mikkelsen rounded out the Rally1 field, finishing 32.9 seconds behind Evans. The Norwegian, who is competing in the top division of the WRC for the first time since 2019, claimed that he was having trouble with his Hyundai i20 N’s engine programming.

Pepe López grabbed the lead in WRC2, winning the first stage by an impressive 9.2 seconds over the trailing group.

The three-time Spanish Superchampionship title holder extended his advantage to 14.2 seconds over Nikolay Gryazin as current Monte WRC2 winner and Citroën driver Yohan Rossel rounded out the podium 19.9 seconds behind the lead.

Leave a Reply