Evans and Martin win Secto Rally Finland

Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin have won Secto Rally Finland for a second time after they maintained their comfortable overnight advantage to the finish in Himos this afternoon.

Despite leading by 32.1s heading into Sunday’s final leg, Evans opted against switching to cruise control in his Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid and instead went fastest of all on the day’s first stage. That gave him a lead of 36.6s, which he extended to 38.2s by winning the penultimate test, his ninth of the event.

By completing the Wolf Power Stage with the fastest time, the Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT driver claimed his second victory of 2023 and his first in Finland since 2021with a winning margin of 39.1s.

“It’s been a pretty good weekend,” said Evans. “Obviously we’re sorry for our team-mates [Kalle Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen] but it’s been really fantastic to drive this car and a joy to be behind the wheel this weekend. It’s been a fantastic atmosphere and great to have everyone behind us. It’s a second home rally for the team with factory based here. Of course for the championship it’s not bad because we’ve closed the gap.”

Thierry Neuville scored his second consecutive runner-up spot in the world championship for Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team with Takamoto Katsuta completing the podium for Toyota, despite Teemu Suninen’s best efforts to get ahead on his home event.

Rising Finnish star Sami Pajari took the FIA WRC2 victory alongside co-driver Enni Mälkönen.

Another rising Finnish star Benjamin Korhola took the FIA WRC3 victory with co-driver Pekka Kelander.

Provisional Final Classification, Secto Rally Finland 2023

1. Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) 2h33m11.3s
2. Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +39.1s
3. Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +1m36.7s
4. Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +1m41.0s
5. Jari-Matti Latvala/Juho Hänninen (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +4m09.4s
6. Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +9m33.6s
7. Sami Pajari/Enni Mälkönen (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +10m03.7s
8. Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (Ford Fiesta Rally2) +10m37.5s
9. Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin Aleksandrov (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +11m11.5s
10. Andreas Mikkelsen/Torstein Eriksen (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +11m35.2s

Drivers’ championship standings (after round 9 of 13)

1. Kalle Rovanperä 170pts
2. Elfyn Evans 145pts
3. Thierry Neuville 134pts

Photo: Petro Piilo/AKK.

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