88th Rallye Monte-Carlo

20 - 26 January 2020

Elfyn Evans: “Just keep going”

Published on 25 January 2020

After SS 12, Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin lead the Rallye Monte-Carlo 2020.

Elfyn Evans – Scott Martin (Toyota), leader

One day to go and you lead Monte Carlo, Elfyn. How was your day?
Not easy, to be honest. Looking back I’ve maybe been a bit careful at times, but at the same time we have to count our lucky stars – we were properly in ditch on last stage, but every now and then you need a bit of luck. Overall it’s been pretty solid, but it was probably our run through that second stage this morning that has put us in this position now. 

That second stage was incredible. Did you surprise yourself?
Maybe a little bit. It’s very difficult, you try to balance the risk with how much you push when you know you have an ice section at the end of that stage. It’s difficult to know how much to manage. I tried to be as smooth as I could and we had a good run over the ice – but I can’t tell you if it worked or not. 

There’s just 6.4 seconds between you all tonight- what do you have to do to take this victory?
We have to stay focused and keep doing everything we can. We’re not sure what we’re going to be faced with tomorrow yet. Hopefully it’ll be a little bit nicer conditions than today, but you can never tell with Turini. We know we’re going to be pushed very, very hard all of the way. There’s nothing we can do about that, we have to just keep going. 

Sébastien Ogier – Julien Ingrassia (Toyota), 2nd

Tricky conditions coming tomorrow – what do you think you’ll do about tyres?
Luckily we don’t do it tonight, or it would be a lottery. Turini is always challenging, it’s never an easy section. I’m sure we can do well. We already had a big fight with Thierry last year, so we know the notes are proved, but the driving has to be delivered tomorrow. The feeling is good in the Yaris, I hope this can carry on tomorrow. 

You have six wins on the trot here, but still you want this win so bad tomorrow…
It’s quite funny we fight so hard for this victory. Monte Carlo must be so important to win, because we know if we win this one then we know we will not win the next one – we would be in trouble in Sweden or Mexico opening the road. But it shows how important Monte Carlo is in our eyes, it’s maybe the most iconic round of the championship. I’m sure it will be interesting for the fans tomorrow and I’m sure we’re going to have fun. 

Thierry Neuville – Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai), 3rd

Maybe a little blip this morning Thierry, but a really strong afternoon…
I don’t know if there was a blip, to be honest. We have also done quite well over the day, but Elfyn was incredibly fast on that second stage – he surprised us all I think. You just have to be cautious in a couple of places and you easily lose one or two seconds in a couple of corners. At the end of the stage you lose 10 seconds in one stage and it’s hard to catch that back. I’m really happy we were able to set two fastest times this afternoon and come back to the fight for the lead. 

Everyone wants to win here?
Especially when you have been so close. We started the final stage last year with a similar gap to this one tonight and I have to copy and paste the first three stages and then do better in the Power Stage. We don’t know what it’s going to be like tomorrow, but I can tell you everybody will do their best and nobody will give up. We’re going to sweat a lot and it’s going to be hard, but it’s going to be an exciting battle. 

Is Elfyn ready to step up to the fight for the title?
I think it’s not just a feeling, the proof is there – he is sitting in the middle tonight. We have already been in this situation in Corsica last year. He has a great talent and a great speed and he feels very comfortable straight away with this new car – that’s promising for him and for everybody else in the coming events, but hopefully we can have the upper hand!