MOTORSPORT NEWS Rally

Evans now at centre of WRC driver market

Elfyn Evans has been linked to Toyota and even Hyundai for the 2018 World Rally Championship after his second place on Rally Finland, but M-Sport is determined to keep him. DMACK Ford driver Evans spoilt Toyota team team principal Tommi Makinen’s hopes of a home one-two in Finland last weekend by pipping Juho Hanninen on the final stage.

Elfyn Evans

“This was a very good drive from him and it’s interesting to see what he is doing next season,” said Makinen of Evans.

“There’s always interest in the young guys when they are able to make results like this; it would be interesting to talk about next year.”

Hanninen is widely expected to lose his full-time Toyota seat despite the Finland podium, especially given Esapekka Lappi won the rally in just his fourth World Rally Car start.

Makinen added: “We are still working on next year, nothing is decided in our team.

“We have to talk to the Japanese about what they want from next year and we are doing that at the moment. We know more soon after that.”

Evans’s M-Sport stablemates Sebastien Ogier and Ott Tanak are also understood to be targets for Toyota.

M-Sport team principal Malcolm Wilson said he was not keen to let Evans go, especially after his progress from a quiet early eighth place to second in Finland.

“Elfyn’s not going anywhere,” Wilson said.

“Like I’ve said all along, the ideal scenario for me is that we keep the team as it is and that means Elfyn stays.

“I’ve been really impressed with what I’ve seen from Elfyn in Finland. We all know how quick the Finns are and we all know what it means to be right up there on that rally.

“Beyond the result though, it’s the steely determination Elfyn showed once again. On Friday it was a really tough day, but he bounced back very, very well.”

Further driver market speculation in Finland suggested Hyundai could sign Evans to replace Dani Sordo.

Hyundai has come close to signing Evans before, lining him last year in case Thierry Neuvillewent elsewhere for 2017.

But team principal Michel Nandan remains adamant Hyundai will field an unchanged squad of Neuville, Sordo and Hayden Paddon next year.

Source: Eurosport