Welshman Evans riding his luck as WRC title battle heats up in Sardinia

Alghero (Italy) (AFP) –


Welshman Elfyn Evans is locked in a battle with fellow Toyota driver Sebastien Ogier as the World Rally Championship heads to the penultimate round in Sardinia from Thursday.

Evans' win last time in Turkey gave him an 18-point advantage over France's six-time world champion Ogier, who lost his crown last season to Estonia's Ott Tanak.

"I'm well aware that a bit of luck needs to go your way," said Evans who took top spot in the overall standings after Ogier was forced to pull out in Turkey with smoke billowing from under the bonnet.

Tanak, winner in his native Estonia, is 27 points behind Evans in his Hyundai in a season interrupted and cut to seven races because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Evans, fifth last season, is bidding to become just the third British world champion after Richard Burns in 2001 and Colin McRae in 1995.

After opening the season with third in Monte Carlo the 31-year-old won in Sweden, and finished fourth in Mexico and Estonia.

All remains to be raced for on the fast, narrow, sandy and gravel roads around Alghero, which will be followed by the season-finale at Ypres in Belgium next month.

Weather conditions could favour the Welsh driver with rain forecast in the days prior to the race in Sardinia which normally takes place in hot and dry summer conditions.

Drivers' standings (after five of seven rounds)

1. Elfyn Evans (GBR/Toyota) 97 pts, 2. Sebastien Ogier (FRA/Toyota) 79, 3. Ott Tanak (EST/Hyundai) 70, 4. Kalle Rovanpera (FIN/Toyota) 70, 5. Thierry Neuville (BEL/Hyundai) 65, 6. Esapekka Lappi (FIN/M-Sport Ford) 38, 7. Teemu Suninen (FIN/M-Sport Ford) 34, 8. Craig Breen (IRL/Hyundai) 25, 9. Sebastien Loeb (FRA/Hyundai) 24, 10. Gus Greensmith (GBR/M-Sport Ford) 16


1. Toyota 174 pts, 2. Hyundai 165, 3 M-Sport Ford 101