Elfyn Evans hopes he can go one better at Rally Italia Sardegna after kickstarting his season with a second-place finish at Rally de Portugal.
Evans endured a disappointing opening three races in this year’s World Rally Championship (WRC).
But the Welshman impressed in finishing second behind Toyota team-mate Kalle Rovanpera last time out.
“It was a very much-needed result to be back on the podium,” said the 33-year-old from Dolgellau.
“I could feel that there was some speed left out there which is a shame, but after a difficult start to the year I wasn’t in a position to risk enough to fight for the win. But it’s something to build on at least for the future.”
Evans – who has been WRC series runner-up in each of the last two years – has climbed from ninth to fifth overall, and hopes an upturn in fortunes will see him continue to rise up the table as he continue to get to grips with his new hybrid-technology Yaris.
He will head to Sardinia – the fifth race of the WRC’s 13-round season – on 36 points, while leader Rovanpera has 106 points having won the last three races.
“I hope we’ll be up there come the end of the year,” added Evans.
“We’ve shown some promising speed during the year with the exception of a few mishaps at the start of the year, which have been really costly so far.
“Our team-mate has got off to a flying start, [he] really seems to have connected with the car and is driving really well.
“The car is at least fast and it’s proven as a winning car many times already this year.”
Evans is expecting Rally Italia Sardegna to be one of the toughest events on the calendar, but has some confidence having finished second there in 2021.
“It’s a challenging event, there’s normally a high level of attrition and it’s very easy to make a mistake, so we really have to focus on driving cleanly and well,” he said.
“We have some experience there which brings some level of confidence.
“It’s always a challenge and anything can happen so our expectations are realistic but of course, we’re always aiming for the top step and delivering the best result we can.”