Evans spearheaded a Toyota domination of the 22-stage asphalt rally that hosted the final round of the WRC season.

The Welshman delivered a masterclass in changeable conditions - that ranged from extreme wet weather to snow showers - to lead home Toyota team-mates Sebastien Ogier (+1m17.7s) and two-time world champion Kalle Rovanpera (+1m46.5s).

The victory marked his third of the season, alongside Croatia and Finland, as the 34-year-old secured the runner-up spot in the championship.

Evans' success in Japan arrived exactly 12 months on from being denied a shot at securing a home win for Toyota by a final day puncture.

“Of course, under the circumstances it is special to win with your team-mates side by side it has been mega,” Evans told Autosport.

“It has been a difficult rally and I felt a bit of unfinished business after last year, so it is nice to score a result this way.

“Yeah definitely [there was pressure]. I guess it was from a finishing point of view you look like a fool if you chuck it off and honestly it would be something so easy to do. A minor misjudgement somewhere was all it would have taken in the conditions we had.”

Photo by: Tomasz Kaliński

Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Evans shot to the rally lead on Friday, opening up a 26.0s advantage over Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville after winning stages two and three that were held in horrendous wet conditions.

Reflecting on his drives on those stages, Evans was unable to explain his pace.

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“I have no idea. I thought I was going to be a minute down coming to end of the first one it was impossible to judge,” he added.

Eight-time world champion Ogier was unable to challenge Evans after receiving a one-minute penalty for being six minutes late from service on Friday night after his GR Yaris required a repair to its chassis following an impact with a barrier on stage five.

Although, victory was his target, Ogier says this 1-2-3 will live long in his memory.

“Being part of moments like this is special and of course from a personal side I came here to try to win this rally and I could think that I didn’t reach my target,” Ogier told Autosport.

“But at the end being part of this 1-2-3 with Akio Toyoda [Toyota chairman] here and in front of all of the team, it makes it very easy to forget that that I didn’t reach the perfect target. It is a moment I will remember from my career.”

2023-11-19T14:05:50Z dg43tfdfdgfd