Evans and Martin power to dominant Croatia Rally win

Sunday 23 April 2023

Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin stormed to victory at Croatia Rally on Sunday afternoon, soaring to the top of the FIA World Rally Championship standings in the process.

An error from Thierry Neuville on Saturday morning propelled the Welshman to first overall, and he distanced himself from M-Sport Ford Puma driver Ott Tänak across the rest of the rally to win by 27.0sec in a Toyota GR Yaris.

The triumph, his first since Secto Rally Finland in 2021 and the first of his career on asphalt, elevated Evans from fifth to equal-first in the drivers’ championship standings. He is tied on points with Sébastien Ogier after round four of 13, with Kalle Rovanperä just a single point behind and Tänak three more in arrears.

“Obviously we’ve been working towards this for a long time, but it all feels so insignificant at the moment – that’s the bottom line,” said Evans, referencing the passing of friend and driver Craig Breen.

“After the focus of the weekend, we’re all back to missing our friend now. Straightaway after coming across the finish line, that’s all we can think about. We promised Craig’s family we would enjoy the weekend, and we’ve done that. We’re all thinking of them right now.”

His Toyota Gazoo Racing team preserved its unbeaten Croatia Rally record whilst also increasing its manufacturers’ championship lead over Hyundai Motorsport to 29 points.

The series returns to gravel next month for Vodafone Rally de Portugal. The fifth round is based at Matosinhos on 11 – 14 May.

Final positions:
1. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris 2hr 50min 54.3sec
2. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Ford Puma +27.0sec
3. E Lappi / J Ferm FIN Hyundai i20 N +58.6sec
4. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota GR Yaris +1min 18.3sec
5. S Ogier / V Landais FRA Toyota GR Yaris +1min 28.0sec
6. T Katsuta / A Johnston JPN Toyota GR Yaris +2min 22.5sec