Evans has "no excuses" at Toyota ahead of Monte Carlo WRC opener
|By David Evans||Thursday, January 23rd 2020, 10:56 GMT|
Elfyn Evans says he has no excuses not to make the most of his Toyota World Rally Championship move as he prepares to make his debut for the manufacturer.
Evans switched from M-Sport to arguably the best-funded team, Toyota, in the off-season, and will make his first start alongside six-time WRC champion Sebastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanpera on the Monte Carlo Rally this weekend.
He concluded his pre-event preparations for the season-opener with a tricky day's testing north of Gap late last week, during which he experienced the "full range of [weather] conditions, except full ice", but is looking to hit the ground running.
"Let's not make excuses here, I've had really good cars from M-Sport before and I for one reason or another I haven't been able to turn that potential into the right results," Evans told Autosport.
"But now I'm completely focused on the future and on the opportunity that lies ahead.
"We know how strong this car is and I feel I'm still on an upward trend with my driving.
"I want to continue on that upward trend, keep getting faster and make the most out of the next two years with Toyota.
"There can be no excuses now, we know the position we're in and I just want to get out there and see where we are compared to the competition.
"For me, the feeling is good. The feeling's good in the car and with the team."
Evans finished Wednesday's shakedown third fastest, 0.6 seconds slower than his pacesetting team-mate Ogier.
Speaking about his final preparatory test a week earlier, Evans said: "The test was... interesting.
"It was all good, but the weather was just a bit changeable.
"We started out and had a dry first run. It started raining on the second run, by lunchtime it was pissing it down, in the afternoon we had rivers running down the road and then when it was going dark, it started to snow.
"Normally, you would prefer to have consistency so you can feel the changes you're making with a new car, but that wasn't possible.
"Equally, it's really valuable for me to feel how a new car like the Yaris was feeling as the conditions evolved and changed.
"It wasn't ideal, but, like I said, it was good to see how the car was when the chips were down."
The one-time WRC event winner, whose best Monte Carlo finish is a trio of sixth-place finishes, admitted Thursday evening's opening two stages of the season will be among the toughest.
"It's a new car, in the dark, nobody knows if it's wet, dry, freezing, how much ice there is," he said.
"Everything's new. Those are probably the two stages in the most difficult circumstances of the season."