Elfyn Evans wants to win her first career title in the WRC and, after the great victory obtained 2 weeks ago in Finland, she immediately made clear her intentions also at the Rally of Spain, the penultimate event of the 2021 World Rally.
The Welshman of Toyota Racing set the best time in the first special stage of the Iberian rally, the PS1 Vilaplana 1 of 20 kilometers, setting an amazing time.
No one has managed to get a delay of less than 5 “1 from Evans’ time (10’16” 9). The best of the others was Thierry Neuville, at the wheel of the first Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC in the standings, stopping just 5 “1 behind his rival.
The Belgian, from Hyundai Motorsport like Sébastien Ogier and Ott Tanak, complained of a strong understeer that forced him not to push as much as he would have liked. Ogier, who opened the test and will do so for the rest of the day, showed an 8 “1 delay from his rival for the title.
Ogier still managed to stay in third position, ahead of Ott Tanak by 9 tenths who two years ago, in Salou, managed to take home the first and today the only world title of his career. Fifth place for Dani Sordo with the third Hyundai. The Spaniard was 2 tenths of a second slower than Tanak, who preceded him.
Kalle Rovanpera is sixth, the last driver to show an acceptable gap from Evans. The Finn is 10 “4, then in seventh place we find Adrien Fourmaux with the first Ford Fiesta. The French, however, is 21” 2 from the top after just 20 kilometers of the race.
Of note is the excellent performance of Nil Solans, making his debut at the wheel of a WRC Plus (a Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC of the 2C Competition team). The Spaniard is eighth and managed to get behind Gus Greensmith (M-Sport) and Oliver Solberg (2C Competition).
The race weekend starts in the worst way for Takamoto Katsuta. Two kilometers from the finish of the PS1, the Japanese of Toyota crashed into the barriers and destroyed the left front suspension of his Yaris. After the impact, he still managed to back off and finish the test, but was forced to retire.
Katsuta lost the car coming out of a double right-hand corner which was certainly not fast. From the first images the impression is that he misjudged the speed with which to face the curve.
Rally of Spain 2021 – General classification after the PS1
|Pos.||Pilot / navigator||Car||Time / posting|
|1||Evans / Martin||Toyota Yaris WRC||10’16 “9|
|2||Neuville / Wydaeghe||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||+5 “1|
|3||Ogier / Ingrassia||Toyota Yaris WRC||+8 “1|
|4||Tanak / Jarveoja||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||+9 “0|
|5||Sordo / Carrera||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||+9 “2|
|6||Rovanpera / Halttunen||Toyota Yaris WRC||+10 “4|
|7||Fourmaux / Coria||Ford Fiesta WRC||+21 “2|
|8||Solans / Martì||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||+26 “2|
|9||Greensmith / Patterson||Ford Fiesta WRC||+29 “0|
|10||Solberg / Drew||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||+32 “5|