Evans got here embroiled in an intense battle for second with Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville that went proper right down to the wire on the first gravel spherical of the season.
The Welshman inherited second on Saturday morning following Esapekka Lappi’s crash from the lead, however held solely a 11.6s margin over Neuville in third.
A charging Neuville reduce the deficit to 4.3s heading into Sunday’s remaining 4 levels. Evans managed to stem the time loss profitable stage 21 by 1.7s from Neuville, however in doing so he broken the suspension of his GR Yaris.
Evans was pressured to make roadside repairs to a bent suspension arm utilizing no matter he had accessible within the automotive. Nonetheless, the repair wasn’t sufficient to permit the two-time WRC runner-up to push to the utmost, and in the end misplaced second by 0.4s to Neuville on the ultimate stage.
Though dissatisfied to lose out within the combat for second, Evans was relieved to be again on the rostrum for the primary time since Rally Belgium final August.
A puncture on this 12 months’s Monte Carlo season opener robbed him of a probable podium, whereas all three Toyotas struggled for tempo in Sweden.
“I believe total it has been a stable weekend, I believe we had the pace to be second to be trustworthy, however sadly I didn’t fairly execute a number of issues,” stated Evans, who sits fifth, 12 factors behind championship chief Ogier.
Podium: Winners Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1, second place Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Group Hyundai i20 N Rally1, third place Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1
Picture by: McKlein / Motorsport Images
“The Positive factor is I’m again on the rostrum for a primary time shortly, and it has felt like a extremely very long time, so I’m comfortable for that and I’m pleased with the sensation within the automotive on gravel.
“I’m a bit dissatisfied in fact. It was fairly troublesome to combat on the entrance with the broken suspension arm and we needed to take care of this arm as we didn’t wish to return with zero factors. I’ve combined feelings.”
After witnessing Evans try an unlikely restore on the suspension arm, Neuville applauded the Welshman’s bravery for persevering with to combat with a wounded automotive.
“After I noticed that he was nonetheless flat out, I stated that this man actually has huge balls,” stated Neuville. “The arm was damaged and he mounted it with some masking and a few tie wraps. I came upon on the finish that he wasn’t so assured.
“However, if I had been in the identical place, you should play along with your luck and he did it and it labored properly, and he took the combat till the tip.”