Rally Sweden: Day 3 Evans eyes more strong points for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing

2024.2.17 (Sat)

Elfyn Evans ended the longest day of Rally Sweden in a podium position for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team as he looks to bank another strong points haul from a challenging weekend on snow and ice.

Car 33 (Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin)
Car 33 (Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin)

After an excellent drive in demanding heavy snow conditions on Friday, Takamoto Katsuta began the day only 3.2 seconds from the lead. He reduced his deficit to just 0.9s with a good run through the morning’s opening test, Vännäs. Looking to capitalise on his pace in the following Sarsjöliden stage, Katsuta unfortunately slid into a snowbank and was unable to go any further. He will return to action under restart rules tomorrow.

Evans was aiming to fight back having suffered from the worst of the conditions at the front of the road order on Friday afternoon, and moved up from fifth to third overall during the Saturday morning loop. He began the afternoon with a stage win and finished up as the fastest driver over the day. He is third overall, 16.7s from second-placed Adrien Fourmaux (M-Sport Ford).

With points now awarded based upon the positions at the end of Saturday, Evans is set to score at least 13 points should he reach the finish tomorrow, when up to 12 additional points will also be available.

Kalle Rovanperä restarted this morning following an off into a snowbank on Friday, and scored a stage win in the morning’s second test as he prepares to target points on Sunday.

Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)

“We can see that we have had the performance to win this weekend but unfortunately small mistakes have had major consequences for the results in the cases of both Kalle and Takamoto. It would have been really nice to see Taka on the podium because he was doing a great job. He was quicker in the first stage this morning and could see the possibility to win, and when you then try to raise the speed too soon then mistakes can sadly happen. Elfyn meanwhile has done a very solid job from a difficult position, he’s been driving very well. I think on the second pass of stages it’s difficult to make big differences, and to end Saturday in third position is good with more points available tomorrow.”

Kalle Rovanperä (Driver car 69)
“It was nice to restart this morning, with much nicer conditions with the sun out. It’s not always easy to come back and push again after something like what happened yesterday, but we just tried to enjoy the driving and I could have a good feeling after the first stage of the morning. Being second on the road was not optimal, especially this afternoon on the second pass. There was not much of a clean line to follow, but overall it was quite OK. Tomorrow we will try to do our best to help the team bring some more points: that’s our goal.”

Elfyn Evans (Driver car 33)
“This morning was going quite well until a bit of a clumsy error on one junction in the last stage of the loop, where we took on some snow in the front of the car and lost quite a bit of power. I’m a bit disappointed with that as it cost us quite dear in the fight for second place. In the afternoon it was far more difficult to claw back time. On the second pass with a lot of gravel coming through, the tyre wear is high and you have to try and save the studs: I had no rear grip left for the last stage. Tomorrow will be a big push for the whole day to score as many points as we can.”

Takamoto Katsuta (Driver car 18)
“This morning we were fighting for the lead and pushing hard. We had a good first stage and got much closer to the lead, and I wanted to continue pushing to try and gain more time. Unfortunately, in one corner in SS10 I was probably carrying a bit too much speed and I lost the rear, hit the snowbank and we got stuck there. I feel very disappointed and I’m really sorry for the team, because it could have been a very good weekend. I just need to learn from this kind of thing, and we still have tomorrow to see if we can gain some points.”

End of day three (Saturday):
1 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) 2h03m52.0s
2 Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (Ford Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +1m06.3s
3 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +1m23.0s
4 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +2m22.1s
5 Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +4m01.1s
6 Sami Pajari/Enni Mälkönen (Toyota GR Yaris Rally2) +5m15.1s
7 Georg Linnamäe/James Morgan (Toyota GR Yaris Rally2) +5m15.3s
8 Roope Korhonen/Anssi Viinikka (Toyota GR Yaris Rally2) +5m35.1s
9 Mikko Heikkilä/Kristian Temonen (Toyota GR Yaris Rally2) +5m51.2s
10 Lauri Joona/Janni Hussi (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +6m29.3s
45 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +49m21.4s
51 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +59m15.8s
(Results as of 19:45 on Saturday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)

What's next?
The final day of the rally features 61.08 competitive kilometres, beginning with two passes of the 25.5km Västervik stage – which are separated by final service. Another pass of tonight’s full-length Umeå test serves as the rally-ending Power Stage.

Car 69 (Kalle Rovanperä, Jonne Halttunen)
Car 69 (Kalle Rovanperä, Jonne Halttunen)
Elfyn Evans
Elfyn Evans
Car 18 (Takamoto Katsuta, Aaron Johnston)
Car 18 (Takamoto Katsuta, Aaron Johnston)

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