Evans started the season among the favorites to challenge for the WRC title after finishing second to Sebastien Ogier in the previous two campaigns, but this year the Welshman was unable to beat teammate Toyota Rovanpera in the cars Rally1 hybrids.
Rovanpera won five of the seven events this year to take an 83-point championship lead.
Evans pushed Rovanpera from close range in Sweden before crashing out on the final day, and led the Finn through the rounds of Portugal, Kenya and Estonia before finishing second behind his stable mate.
In these events, Rovanpera showed superior confidence and speed in the tough wet conditions, which helped the 21-year-old get ahead of Evans.
Toyota boss Jari-Matti Latvala attributed Rovanpera’s advantage to the young driver’s extracurricular activities competing in drift events.
Evans has studied Rovanpera’s style and knows the areas where his teammate is successful.
“I think he finds a lot of confidence in the rain and especially when the grip is a bit more mixed, maybe there’s something about his style that suits him a bit more,” Evans told Motorsport.com. “It’s definitely not something I’ve excelled in this year at least.
“I’m pretty aware of some of the stuff that’s going on, but it’s not always easy to just translate that.”
Podium: Winner Kalle Rovanpera, Jonne Halttunen, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1, second place Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1
Photo by: Toyota Racing
Wet weather is again forecast for this weekend’s visit to Rovanpera’s homeland of Finland, the scene of Evans’ biggest WRC victory last season.
After scoring three second places in the last four events, Evans says his confidence is building after a tough start to the year, but expects a tough task to claim a second straight Rally Finland victory to open his account for the year.
“Of course I have mixed feelings as we wanted more from recent rallies, but I’m happy to be at least on the podium more consistently compared to the start of the year, because it really wasn’t such a big deal. good start.” he said.
“I just feel like we really need a few wins to get that last bit of momentum. It’s been a tough year so far.
Asked if returning to Finland would be a good rally to secure the still elusive victory this year, he replied: “If you follow normal form, probably not because there are so many fast Scandinavians this year.
“Let’s see. We come to every rally trying to give our best and this one is no exception.
Rally Finland kicks off on Thursday evening with the first of 22 competitive stages.