Elfyn Evans claimed his second straight World Rally Championships 2 (WRC 2) victory at Rally Sweden on Monday after defeating a pack of eager Nordic drivers on home ground.
In snow and ice conditions that favored the locals, the Welshman was headed only briefly in Saturday’s opening leg before taking a lead he retained through to the Karlstad finish after 12 speed tests and 226.48 kilometers. The WRC 2 races are run alongside the WRC competition that Sebastien Ogier has topped recently.
Driving a Ford Fiesta R5, Evans held off a charging Pontus Tidemand to win by 14.7 seconds. Tidemand lost 50 seconds in the opening day with a broken driveshaft on his Skoda Fabia R5, but despite a determined recovery, the Swede was unable to reel in Evans.
“We knew this would be a big challenge. It’s only my third ever snow rally and normally it has taken me quite a while to settle. It was a bit like that on Saturday morning but we got up to speed quicker than normal and by the end of the day we had a decent lead. It was about managing it from there,” said Evans.
Anders Grøndal was on course for the final podium place, but Finland’s Esapekka Lappi blasted through the rally-closing power stage 10.8 seconds quicker than the Norwegian to snatch third by 2.1 seconds in a Fabia R5. Lappi recovered from 11th after sliding off the road on Saturday.
Eyvind Brynildsen overcame early problems to finish fifth while Ole Christian Veiby snatched sixth from Emil Bergqvist in the final stage on his debut in a four-wheel drive car.
The only man to head Evans was Fredrik Åhlin, but he was delayed by a puncture before retiring when he ripped a wheel off his car.