Evans loses WRC ground as Ogier wins in Portugal

The Toyota Yaris of Elfyn Evans and co-driver Scott Martin at the 2024 Rally de Portugal
Elfyn Evans and co-driver Scott Martin finished more than six minutes behind Rally de Portugal winner Sebastien Ogier [Getty Images]

Elfyn Evans lost significant ground to World Rally Championship (WRC) leader Thierry Neuville after suffering problems, as Sebastien Ogier won Rally de Portugal.

Evans finished only sixth and also collected no Sunday points after overheating problems with his Toyota Yaris.

It means Neuville, third in Portugal, has stretched his championship lead from six points to 24 after five rounds.

"I am happy to arrive at the end, see you in Sardinia," was Evans' verdict after the final stage.

Welshman Evans fell out of contention for a second career win in Portugal on Friday.

Already running in eighth, the 2021 winner lost a further minute when co-driver Scott Martin left his pacenote book at the stop control for stage six, and had to read notes from a mobile phone during the subsequent run - which saw a tyre come off the front-right rim of their GR Rally1 hybrid.

Evans suffered further troubles on Sunday's penultimate stage, losing more than a minute with his engine temperature drama, Martin having to push-start the Toyota before cruising home in EV mode.

The pair collected six points for their Saturday placing, while Belgium's Neuville picked up 24 in total and his Hyundai team-mate Ott Tanak - second on the rally - 26.

Evans' fellow Toyota driver Ogier banked 25 points after taking his 60th WRC victory with a record sixth win in Portugal.

“Not a fantastic weekend for the whole team, but I did my best to bring maximum points for them. It’s a good feeling,” said eight-time world champion Ogier.

Round six of the 13-race series is Rally Italia Sardegna, from 30 May to 2 June.

FIA World Rally Championship standings after Rally de Portugal (provisional)

1. Thierry Neuville (Belgium) Hyundai, 110 points

2. Elfyn Evans (Great Britain) Toyota, 86 points

3. Ott Tanak (Estonia) Hyundai, 79 points

4. Adrien Fourmaux (France) Ford, 71 points

5. Sebastien Ogier (France) Toyota, 70 points

6. Takamoto Katsuta (Japan) Toyota, 49 points