Elfyn Evans secured his third career win in the FIA World Rally Championship after an extremely dramatic end to Rally Turkey on Sunday.
Evans had been sitting fourth before the opening run through the Çetibeli test, but incredibly jumped to the top of the overall leaderboard after all his rivals ahead hit problems, either mechanically or via punctures.
The mammoth 38km stage would later cause even more trouble for at the time championship leader Sebastien Ogier, who’s engine failed on the second running of the stage and he was forced to retire from the event.
This enabled Evans to take a 36.9 second advantage into the Marmaris Power Stage ahead of Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville, who as with teammate Sebastien Loeb, was one of several drivers who was forced to change a puncture on the opening stage of the day.
The Welshman made no mistakes on the final stage and went on to win by 35.2 seconds, with Neuville leading the returning Ott Tänak on the Power Stage leaderboard.
A delighted Evans said on his win: “It’s been a tough weekend. We were there or there abouts most of the weekend, and we thought that yesterday (Saturday) afternoon it was game over for a chance of victory.”
“We really tried to drive well and stay in the middle of the road. I’m well aware that there is a bit of luck that needs to go your way and I never like to inherit positions from others in that way.”
He added: “This is the nature of Rally Turkey especially, and we knew this coming into the weekend. I’m still very happy – it’s not the sweetest victory when you know that you’ve perhaps been a bit more conservative, but that’s the aim of the game.”
Ogier’s retirement has certainly also given Evans a huge boost in the championship, as the Toyota driver now leads the six-time champion by 18 points at the top of the standings with just two rounds left in 2020.
Fourth in Turkey went to the third Toyota of Kalle Rovanperä, with Gus Greensmith making the most of the drama ahead to take his best WRC finish in fifth.
Both of his M-Sport Ford teammates, Esapekka Lappi and Teemu Suninen suffered dramas on Sunday. Lappi made it to the end of the rally, albeit having to cruise through the Power Stage with only three working springs, while Suninen had to retire on the opening stage of Sunday with suspension failure.
Pierre-Louis Loubet also stopped on the same stage as the Finn with mechanical problems in the fourth Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC.
WRC3 saw Kajetan Kajetanowicz take a dominating victory and he was the highest placed R5/Rally2 entrant on the event. He finished seventh overall and 24.2 seconds ahead of WRC2 class winner Pontus Tidemand with Adrien Fourmaux and Marco Bulaica Wilkinson completed the top 10 overall.
The next round of the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship is Rally Italia Sardgena, which takes placed between October 9-11.