Sunday 20 September 2020

Rally - Welsh win in Turkey

Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin survived a tumultuous end to Rally Turkey to snatch a win when others faltered and retake the lead of the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship.

He was holding 4th place at the start of the final Sunday loop to move back up the leaderboard grabbing his second victory of the season in his Toyota Gazoo Racing Yaris by 35.2sec and now leads the world series by 18 points with 2 rounds remaining.

Evans was the only front-running driver to escape the mayhem caused by the fearsome 38.15km Çetibeli stage. While his rivals were laid low by punctures and mechanical problems, an intelligent and canny, yet quick drive, ensured he kept his car in one piece to score a remarkable victory.

"It has been a tough weekend," said Evans. "We tried to drive well and stay in the middle of the road and that rewarded us. I'm well aware that a bit of luck needs to go your way and I never like to inherit positions from others in that way, but that's the nature of Rally Turkey."

Overnight leader Thierry Neuville finished 2nd in a Hyundai i20, 24.2sec clear of team-mate Sébastien Loeb. They both punctured tyres in Çetibeli, Neuville conceding 1min 45sec and Loeb 1min 20sec.Neuville scored 7 fastest stage times on the 12 stage event.
Championship leader Sébastien Ogier also dropped 1min 15sec with a puncture but was still on course for a podium finish until he stopped in the second run through the stage with smoke pouring from the engine bay of his Yaris.

Gus Greensmith and Elliott Edmondson finished a career-best 5th in their Ford Fiesta after escaping the carnage. Greensmith headed team-mate Esapekka Lappi who lost time on the final stage with a broken damper and earlier with a puncture. Teemu Suninen retired his Fiesta in Çetibeli with broken suspension.

A happy Greensmith commented: “I’m pretty pleased at the end of this one and happy with how our weekend panned out. That long stage today was so rough, and considering where we were I decided that caution was the better act of valour. That turned out to be the right decision – it worked out, and we come away from this weekend with our best ever result."
Rally Turkey final standings:
1. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris 2hr 43min 02.7sec
2. T Neuville / N Gilsoul BEL Hyundai i20 +35.2sec
3. S Loeb / D Elena FRA Hyundai i20 +59.4sec
4. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota Yaris +2min 35.9sec
5. G Greensmith / E Edmondson GBR Ford Fiesta +4min 08.3sec
6. E Lappi / J Ferm FIN Ford Fiesta +5min 36.2sec

FIA World Rally Championship (after round 5 of 7)
1. E Evans 97pts
2. S Ogier 79
3. O Tänak 70

Note: Ta most muchly to Toyota Gazoo and M-Sport Ford for the pics.

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