At the South Estonia Rally on Sunday, Welsh rally driver Elfyn Evans came off unscathed after a high-speed accident that saw his and co-driver Scott Martin's rally cut short. This accident comes a year after Evans injured his back at last year's Rally Estonia.
Evans told rally portal DirtFish the crash was a consequence of going "just a wheel's width" off the road.
He explained the crash: "I turned in ever so slightly early to a corner. I saw the long grass, but I took a bit of a chance to keep my line. I was probably a wheel's width off the road in the cut, but there was a tree stump hidden in there.
"When you're going at such high speed, there's not really a lot you can do about it. We rolled into the trees in fifth or sixth gear. I can't remember whether it was fifth or sixth, but it was fast."
Evans has not had great luck on Estonian roads, injuring his back at last year's Rally Estonia, causing him to sit out for three rounds of the 2019 WRC season.
Evans was adamant his accident will have no impact on his performance in Estonia where the World Rally Championship resumes next month.
He told DirtFish: "There will be no issue for that event. I'm back in the car before then for another test anyway [Toyota's Rally Turkey test in Greece] and even if I wasn't back driving again, it wouldn't be the end of the world."
Evans. Crew reported ok ???? Rasmus Tobias pic.twitter.com/ZER6A2Nqfq— Valmar Viisel (@paddocknews) August 23, 2020
Evans praised the Toyota car after he and his co-driver Scott Martin were able to walk away without any injury. "We knew these cars were safe but an accident like this one gives us more confirmation. The damage to the car is cosmetic; the shell is damaged extensively, but that came from going through the trees. The car's structure held together perfectly," Evans said.
South Estonia Rally, held on Sunday, is considered a warm-up for the continuation of the World Rally Championship season in Estonia on September 4-6. Reigning world champion Ott Tänak won the eight-stage event with an overall time of 48.28.2.
Kalle Rovanperä (Toyota) was second, 13.7 seconds behind the winners, followed by his teammate, six-time WRC champion Sebastien Ogier of France, who was 29.0 seconds behind Tänak.
First ever WRC round to be held in Estonia
WRC Rally Estonia will be held on September 4-6, in South Estonia. This will mark the return of the currently suspended WRC season, and will make Estonia the 33rd country to host a WRC round since the series started in 1973.
The round will span three days and will be held in traditional Rally Estonia regions in Tartu and Southern Estonia such as Kanepi, Kambja, Otepää and Elva.
A round of the Junior WRC season will also be held during that time, as the series follows the schedule of the full WRC. 26-year old Estonian Ken Torn currently holds third place in the season so far, in that series, with 15 points, chasing second place Latvian Martins Sesks (19 points) and Swedish Tom Kristensson (28 points).
WRC has already canceled Rally de Portugal, Rally Kenya, Rally Finland, Rally New Zealand. Additionally, Rally of Argentina and Rally d'Italia have been postponed, leaving only the Turkish, German, Welsh, and Japanese rounds remaining on the schedule.
WRC officials also presented an updated schedule for the rest of the WRC season. Rally Estonia will be followed by Rally Turkey on September 24-27, Rally of Germany on October 15-18, Rally d'Italia on October 29-November 1 and Rally Japan on November 19-22.
According to the International Automobile Federation (FIA), seven rounds of the season have to be completed to decide the title. Until the COVID-19 pandemic, three rounds were completed, which has led the association to look into alternative options.
France's Sebastien Ogier (Toyota) currently leads the series. Ott Tänak of Estonia (Hyundai) is reigning drivers' champion. Tänak won last year's series with Toyota.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste