Elfyn Evans takes the start of the 91st WRC Monte-Carlo Rally. Pic: Getty Images.

Elfyn Evans Looking To Cash In His Chips Not Break The Bank In Monte Carlo

By Gareth James

Elfyn Evans saw his victory hopes hit by hybrid issues on the Monte Carlo Rally as he switched his focus to a Sunday finish.

The Toyota driver slipped from first to third on the penultimate day – more than 30 seconds behind new leader Thierry Neuville.

But Evans will be guaranteed at least 13 points if he gets to the finish on Sunday – and has the potential for even more points as part of the new scoring system for 2024.

“It’s not been the best day for us,” said the 35-year-old from Dolgellau.  “The morning was a bit mixed: the first stage was difficult to judge with a lot of black ice, and then in the middle stage we didn’t have the hybrid power, which was not ideal.

“Then this afternoon we just didn’t seem to have the pace for some reason. We need to look into why. The feeling was not where it was before, but it was also maybe not as bad as the times suggested.

“Anyway, with the new format tomorrow is sort of a new day and that’s how we’ll treat it, and we’ll try to be ready to fight again.”

Up to 12 extra points will also be available from Sunday’s separate classification and the rally-ending Power Stage.

Evans began the longest day of the rally leading team-mate Sebastien Ogier by 4.5 seconds with Neuville (Hyundai) also in close pursuit.

Neuville moved to the front during the morning, but the top three were separated by only 7.7s at mid-day service.

Ogier then began the afternoon with back-to-back fastest times, recording his 700th WRC stage win as he claimed the rally lead for the first time this weekend in the day’s penultimate test.

Neuville responded to end the day in the lead, but Ogier’s hopes of a record-extending 10th victory on home roads remain strong.

Evans conceded the lead in SS10, which he had to drive without the additional power of the hybrid unit.

Toyota team chief Jari-Matti Latvala said: “Overall it’s been a very interesting day with a great fight to follow at the front.

Elfyn decided this afternoon to focus more on the championship points rather than take big risks, which I think was a clever call.”

Monte Carlo Rally (Top 10)

1 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) 2h37m58.5s
2 Sébastien Ogier/Vincent Landais (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +3.3s
3 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +34.9s
4 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +1m46.9s
5 Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (Ford Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +2m54.0s
6 Andreas Mikkelsen/Torstein Eriksen (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +4m21.2s
7 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +7m34.0s
8 Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin Aleksandrov (Citroën C3 Rally2) +8m55.7s
9 Pepe López/David Vázquez (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +8m55.9s
10 Yohan Rossel/Arnaud Dunand (Citroën C3 Rally2) +9m02.6s

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