Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Elfyn Evans holds a slim advantage over his teammate and championship rival Sebastien Ogier following the opening day of ACI Rally Monza, the final round of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship in Italy and speaking following the opening day of activity the Welshman said:

“It was a challenging morning with the thick fog and the grip levels were changing all the time, partly from the dampness and with the different surfaces as well, but it was really enjoyable to drive. We were losing a bit of time to Seb, I was frustrated to give a few seconds away. But we had a good afternoon. I put a lot of effort into being stronger on those stages this year. It’s good to be leading but the gap to Seb is virtually nothing; he was a bit stronger than us in the mountains so we need to look at this and try to improve for tomorrow morning.”

Sebastien Ogier commented on his day of action saying:

“It’s been a good day. This morning I really enjoyed driving the stages in the mountains. The feeling was good in the car, we did a good job on the pre-event test and it was good to see the times coming. When it’s nice to drive you can be close the limit but still feel comfortable. This afternoon around the circuit I was a little bit more on the safe side, because there’s a lot of things you can hit, and we also had an issue on SS5 that cost me some time. But it’s OK, I’m happy with where I am right now and we just need to try and do the same tomorrow.”

Kalle Rovanpera is in ninth place overall heading into the weekend and speaking following his day the Finn said;

“Our plan for this rally is to be there for the manufacturers’ points. We don’t want to take any big risks, and then if something happens with our team-mates we can still secure the points. It’s a really important weekend for the team and we want to help as much as we can. It’s not so easy to drive like this, especially when the conditions are tricky like they were this morning in the mountains and you can lose quite a lot of time. The stages at Monza this afternoon were a bit more enjoyable, even though they were tricky in some sections with the gravel and mud.”

Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) said:

“I am very, very pleased with how it went today. We want Seb and Elfyn to have a fair fight for the drivers’ championship, and Kalle is there to support the team in case something happens and we need him to secure the manufacturers’ points. It’s brilliant to see this fight at the front and the performance is very good even though the conditions are not easy. Seb was faster in the mountain stages this morning, and then Elfyn was stronger at the track this afternoon. It looks like we can have a very exciting battle until the end of the rally.

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