The Toyota driver held his nerve throughout the ultimate two phases regardless of coming below extreme stress from Hyundai’s Tanak to turn out to be solely the second British driver to overcome Rally Finland following Kris Meeke’s win in 2016.
Evans’ run to victory was ignited by profitable Friday’s night time stage to finish the day third and 6.1s adrift of Hyundai’s Craig Breen and Ott Tanak, earlier than rattling off 4 consecutive stage wins on Saturday morning to say the rally lead.
Tanak put the Welshman below relentless stress on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning as an intense absolutely dedicated struggle for victory ensued. But it surely was not sufficient to disclaim Evans and co-driver Scott Martin a memorable win by 14.1s from Tanak within the final gravel occasion for the present technology vehicles.
Friday’s in a single day chief Breen noticed his victory hopes fade on Saturday, however the Irishman impressed all through to scored his third consecutive WRC podium in third, 42.2s adrift of Evans.
A subdued championship chief Sebastien Ogier struggled with set-up till Saturday afternoon however the injury had been achieved, leaving him fifth general. The Frenchman got here dwelling behind the Finnish Toyota wildcard runner Esapekka Lappi, who turned heads on his WRC return after 10 months on the sidelines.
With Ogier down in fifth, Evans slashed his championship benefit to 24 after taking the complete bonus factors with a Energy Stage victory. It would now be a two-driver title struggle after Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville’s title hopes vanished when a water leak compelled him into retirement on Saturday night time.
Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
Picture by: Austral / Hyundai Motorsport
The M-Sport Ford duo of Gus Greensmith and Adrien Fourmaux, competing in his first WRC begin in Finland and with a brand new co-driver in Alexandre Coria, completed sixth and seventh respectively.
Pre-event favorite Kalle Rovanpera was within the podium battle till Saturday morning when the highly-rated Finn crashed out on Stage 10. He returned on Sunday however injury to his automobile and a sore again prevented him from driving at full pace. The latter compelled him to sit down out the Energy Stage.
Likewise, Takamoto Katsuta, partnered with new co-driver Aaron Johnston, returned to motion within the remaining Toyota on Sunday after clipping a tree in a high-speed crash on Saturday’s Stage 8.
The ultimate two phases of the rally on Sunday started with Evans asserting his authority on the entrance as soon as once more having fended off an early risk from Tanak within the opening loop of phases.
Evans claimed his ninth stage win of the rally as he reworked a 0.7s deficit in the beginning of the stage to a 0.2s margin over Tanak.
Lappi’s sturdy end to the rally continued with a 3rd quickest stage time forward of Breen, Ogier and Katsuta.
Craig Breen, Paul Nagle, Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
Picture by: Austral / Hyundai Motorsport
Evans accomplished the victory in fashion by profitable the ultimate Energy Stage, taking the 5 bonus factors within the course of to inflict essentially the most ache on championship chief Ogier.
Evans claimed the stage win by 1.7s from Tanak, with Lappi ending his sturdy run in third.
Ogier’s hopes of limiting the injury within the title race to Evans was dealt a blow when a shock drop in energy from his Toyota resulted in him ending the stage in sixth and out of doors of the bonus factors.
“I do not know, the engine simply stopped and I believe energy can also be not right here,” mentioned Ogier. “It was not the perfect one, but it surely’s a part of the sport. I’m wanting ahead to asphalt a lot now.”
Fourmaux once more raised eyebrows as he landed a spectacular 68m soar on the flying end to raised his mammoth soar from the earlier try earlier this morning.
In WRC2, M-Sport WRC refugee Teemu Suninen gave the house crowd one thing to cheer by profitable the category in his Volkswagen. He took the win by 15.7s from Mads Ostberg.
The WRC heads to the tarmac of Spain for the penultimate spherical of the championship from 14-17 October.