Evans escapes Croatia punishment after shakedown woes

Elfyn Evans

Elfyn Evans

Elfyn Evans avoided being penalised for only completing one run of shakedown for the Croatia Rally on Thursday morning.

World championship regulations require drivers in Rally1 cars to complete a minimum of three passes of the practice stage.

By only completing one run in their factory Toyota GR Yaris Rally1, Evans and co-driver Scott Martin were in breach of Article 36.2.3. of the 2023 FIA WRC Sporting Regulations.

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However, the Croatia Rally stewards decided to take no further action after hearing from Toyota’s WRC sporting director Kaj Lindström during a specially convened hearing.

According to an official communication issued by the event organiser, Lindström explained that “car 33 had a technical issue regarding the turbo during shakedown.

“The car was recovered from the stage to the service park after 13:00 and as the turbo had severe damage, the team had to check thoroughly also the engine to avoid further damage.

“Due to the late arrival of the car at the service park and following a long inspection on the engine, the crew of car 33 was not able to do the remaining two passages of the shakedown, which ended at 15:00”.

After the deputy FIA technical delegate Karmo Uusmaa confirmed Lindström’s statement to the stewards was an accurate summary of the situation no further action was taken.

Speaking next to his repaired Yaris at the ceremonial start in Zagreb on Thursday evening, Evans said: “We believe so” when asked if the turbo issue had been fixed, adding that he was “ready to go tomorrow” and that the problem “keeps it exciting”.

Evans was beaten to victory on the first Croatia Rally to count for the WRC in 2021 by a mere 0.6s in a final-stage showdown with his Toyota team-mate Sebastien Ogier.

However, a puncture restricted him to fifth overall 12 months ago. He currently sits fifth in the world championship standings, albeit just 12 points off top position.

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