World Rally Championship: Elfyn Evans not distracted by making history

Elfyn Evans
Elfyn Evans is the only driver to win twice in this year's World Rally Championship

Welshman Elfyn Evans insists he is not thinking about history as he starts the penultimate race of the season leading the World Rally Championship.

Evans was 18 points clear of team-mate and six-time winner Sebastien Ogier before the Rally Italia Sardegna.

The 31-year hopes to become the first Welshman to win the Championship.

Evans would also be just the third British driver to triumph overall, following Colin McRae in 1995 and Richard Burns in 2001.

With just the season-ending Renties Ypres Rally Belgium to come after this weekend Evans could clinch the title in Italy.

The Dolgellau-born racer has won two races this season, including last time out in Turkey, where he followed up his win at Rally Sweden.

Evans, however, is not looking beyond Sardinia this weekend - the venue where he made his professional debut in 2013.

"Anything can happen between now and the end of the season. One retirement and the whole thing is on its head again. I'm not thinking about it," the Toyota Yaris driver said.

Elfyn Evans (right) and and co-driver Scott Martin following victory in Sweden
Elfyn Evans (right) and and co-driver Scott Martin won in Sweden

"Ultimately, it's better to be out front than behind, but all I'm thinking about right now is the next rally. All I can do is look at the event that's in front of me. That's Sardinia this week."

The World Rally Championship was supposed to pass through Sardinia in June, but was delayed by Covid-19.

Evans made a promising start to the Rally which features 16 special stages covering almost 240km before finishing on Sunday, 11 October

On his fourth and final pass of Thursday's 3.79km shakedown Evans matched Ott Tänak's 2min13.6sec with the Welshman's teammate and closest championship rival Ogier just 0.8sec further back.

"It's going to be a tough rally. It was very dry and loose in here so the grip was quite low, but overall the feeling is okay," said Evans.

There are four special stages on Friday morning with a further two in the afternoon, followed by six on Saturday and four on Sunday.

Behind Evans' and a three-time Sardinia winner Ogier in the overall WRC standings reigning champion Tanak of Hyundai is level on points with Toyota's rookie driver Kalle Rovanpera in third.

Thierry Neuville, 32 points behind, won in Sardinia in 2016 and 2018.

FIA World Rally Championship standings (before Rally Italia Sardegna)

1 Elfyn Evans (GB) Toyota, 97 points

2 Sebastien Ogier (Fra) Toyota, 79 points

3 Ott Taenak (Est) Hyundai, 70 points

4 Kalle Rovanpera (Fin) Toyota, 70 points

5 Thierry Neuville (Bel) Hyundai, 65 points

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