TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team continues to hold the top three positions at Rally Japan with one day remaining of its home event, with Elfyn Evans still leading his team-mates Sébastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanperä.
The second full day of stages took crews south from the Toyota City service park to roads around Okazaki – which itself hosted a new super special stage which was run twice prior to a mid-day tyre fitting zone.
There were also a total of five stages in the surrounding mountains, which still provided plenty of challenges for the drivers even if weather conditions were generally not as extreme as the heavy rain experienced on Friday.
After an excellent job in Friday’s demanding conditions, Evans began the morning with a strong lead which allowed him to carefully manage the day’s challenges, while also managing to win both passes of the Okazaki City super special.
The second stage of the afternoon provided him with a particularly tough challenge as rain and snow began to fall, but he made it through safely with much of his advantage intact.
Following the weekend’s third and final run of the Toyota Stadium super special that rounded out the day, Evans has a lead of 1m15s ahead of Ogier, who is 25.6s in front of Rovanperä. Evans said: “It’s been quite a mixed day again in terms of the conditions. It was much drier than yesterday but still not completely dry and certainly not easy.
"We’ve just been trying to manage the risk as best as we can, which is not easily done on these stages as the margins are so fine that it only takes a tiny little slip to pick up an issue.
"We’re trying to keep focused and manage the gap that we have. When it started sleeting in the second one this afternoon I couldn’t quite believe it, but thankfully we got through it without issue.
There’s a big day ahead tomorrow: it still doesn’t look so straightforward, and we know how demanding those stages are, so it’s far from done.”