Final-day problems cost Elfyn Rally Japan victory

Welsh WRC star had been in the lead after brilliant opening stages.


The final round of the season at Rally Japan saw Elfyn demonstrate rally-winning pace after finding some improvements since the last round in Spain. At the home event of his Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team, he was up to speed from the start and moved into the lead after mastering the notoriously tricky asphalt stages.


He led overnight and traded times with Thierry Neuville during Saturday as the challenge of Japan’s low-grip and technical roads made the event a huge challenge. Neuville clawed back some time a held a slender four second lead going into the final day.

Elfyn blitzed the pack on the opening stage on Sunday, closing the gap to just 0.6 seconds and setting up a final-day showdown. But on the next test a damaged tyre dropped him out of the race and back to third with further time loss when heavy rain caught out many drivers on slick tyres. He eventually finished in fifth after a bitterly disappointing final day performance.

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