Elfyn Evan will miss next month’s Neste Rally Finland after hurting his back during last weekend’s Rally Estonia.
The M-Sport Ford World Rally Team driver suffered the injury during a heavy landing in his Fiesta World Rally Car in the two-day preparation event and doctors have advised him to rest.
The Welshman, who finished fourth in Estonia, will be replaced by Gus Greensmith for only his second World Rally Car outing after an impressive debut at Vodafone Rally de Portugal in May.
“I’m absolutely gutted to be missing Rally Finland, but we suffered a pretty heavy landing in Estonia and have been advised to sit it out and focus on making a full and quick recovery,” said Evans, who lies fourth in the championship standings.
“It’s a hard one to take right now, but I have to trust the advice of the experts and the team have all been really supportive. I’ll now focus on my recovery and getting back behind the wheel as soon as possible,” added Evans, who finished second in Finland two years ago.
Team principal Rich Millener said: “It’s obviously a real shame for everyone not to see Elfyn and Scott (co-driver Martin) in Finland, but when you’re medically advised not to contest an event that’s not something you can ignore. Finland is such a physically demanding rally, and Elfyn’s fitness is our main concern."
Greensmith and co-driver Elliott Edmondson were due to give the new Fiesta R5 its WRC debut in Finland, but will now prepare with a one-day World Rally Car test there tomorrow (Thursday).
“After their impressive debut with the World Rally Car earlier this year, we felt it only right to offer the seat to Gus and Elliott.
“I know they’ll make the most of this opportunity, and they’ll have a pre-event test tomorrow to ensure they’re as prepared as they can be for the challenges ahead,” added Millener.
Neste Rally Finland takes place in Jyväskylä and Central Filand 1-4 August.