Despite a heated head-on battle with Hyundai’s Ott Tänak, the Welshman emerged victorious with an appreciable lead of 14.1 seconds.
Toyota’s Elfyn Evans strengthened his hopes of clinching a maiden WRC title by scooping up a momentous victory in Finland. The Welshman was off to a decent start as he finished Day 1 in third place, just 6.1 seconds behind the Hyundai duo of Craig Breen and Ott Tänak. However, from there, Evans put up an absolute masterclass by winning back-to-back speed tests and by the end of Day 2, he emerged on top of the leaderboard. From there, it was all about maintaining the pace for him but the going certainly wasn’t easy as Tänak kept the pressure levels high with a solid chase.
Despite Hyundai’s best efforts though, they were simply unable to match Evans’ pace that resulted in the Welshman’s resounding win. While Tänak crossed the chequered flag 14.1 seconds behind Evans, Breen, who was 42.2 seconds behind Evans, helped secure Hyundai’s 2-3 finish.
Plus, by securing maximum points in the final Wolf Power Stage, the Welshman slashed championship leader Sébastien Ogier’s advantage from 44 points to 24, with just two rounds remaining. As for Ogier, his lacklustre run was made worse by a 60-second penalty for a regulation infringement, which resulted in an overall fifth-place finish for him.
Meanwhile, Hyundai’s championship hopeful Thierry Neuville suffered a DNF as a water leak and consequent overheating issues forced the Belgian to retire from the event. The retirement has surely affected his title fight.
After Finland, Ogier still leads the championship with 190 points but with 166 points, his teammate Evans is right on his tail. With 130 points, Neuville rounds off the top three.
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