Elfyn Evans: Pre-Monza test ‘crucial’ to WRC title hopes

Toyota’s WRC points leader Elfyn Evans has described this week’s pre-Rally Monza test as “crucial” to his hopes of going to lift the title next month.

Evans holds a 14-point lead over Toyota teammate and six-time champion Sebastien Ogier heading into Rally Monza, which is set to go ahead despite concerns surrounding Italy’s ongoing coronavirus restrictions.

He is aiming to become the first Briton to win the World Rally title since the late Richard Burns achieved the feat back in 2001.

With October’s Ypres Rally cancelled because of the global health crisis, a second-place finish for Evans at Rally Monza would be enough for him to seal the prize, even if Ogier manages to win the event and score maximum Power Stage points.

However, as Monte Carlo is the only round where the Welshman has had chance to sample the Yaris on tarmac, he feels this is going to make his job much more difficult.

“Our pre-Monza Rally test will be quite crucial as we have limited experience of the Yaris WRC in that setting,” he told Motorsport.com. “We really need to make the most of our test to ensure we’re comfortable.”

Evans hopes that the information collected from the Monte – where he finished third on his Toyota debut – and last year’s asphalt rallies can be used to help fine-tune the Yaris WRC’s set-up in the short window that will be available to engineers.

Apart from the Saturday leg of Rally Monza, which is going to be played out on roads north-east of the famous Italian Grand Prix venue, the bulk of the action is set to be held within the confines of the ‘Cathedral of Speed’.

“The challenge with the event is that there are two very different characteristic of stages on the rally and it is difficult to prepare for that with a one-day test,” continued the three-time WRC event winner.

“We aim to use previous data, especially to help with set-up for the mountain stages on the Saturday. While it’s not exactly the same, we can take information from Monte, Corsica and Spain and have an idea of where we need to be.”

Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

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