Elfyn Evans set the pace on Thursday morning’s Rally Chile Bio Bío’s shakedown stage.

Evans, driving his Toyota Gazoo Racing GR Yaris, starts the 11th round of the FIA World Rally Championship 33 points adrift of his TGR team-mate Kalle Rovanperä. While Rovanpera could clinch the title in South America, it would come at Evans’ expense, as the Welshman needs to finish eighth or higher to stay in the title fight.

Just 0.5sec split the title-hunting duo after multiple passes of the 5.75km Bio Bío shakedown stage near to the Concepcion service park, with Evans setting the benchmark on his second and penultimate run.

M-Sport Ford Puma driver Pierre Louis Loubet, finished third quickest, 1.1sec down on Evans, followed by Teemu Suninen who was the highest-placed Hyundai i20 N driver in fourth. He headed Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta by two-tenths of a second while Thierry Neuville, also driving a Hyundai, was a single tenth further back.

Ott Tänak could only muster the seventh-best time in his Puma ahead of Esapekka Lappi. Grégoire Munster and Alberto Heller, both making their debut in Rally1 machinery completed the top 10.

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