World Rally Championship: Elfyn Evans signs new Toyota contract as Kalle Rovanpera goes part time

Elfyn Evans is to drive a fifth season with Toyota Gazoo Racing, but world champion Kalle Rovanpera will only race part time for the team in 2024.

In a shock move, the 23-year-old Finn will share one of the team's three cars with Sebastien Ogier.

Evans was runner-up in this year's World Rally Championship (WRC).

"We've had some great successes together over the last four years and I'm excited to continue that story," said the Welsh driver.

"I gelled with the team immediately when I joined and it feels very much like home now.

"We have a lot more to achieve together and I'm excited about the future. As always, the target will be to win, whether that's in each rally or in the championship."

Evans joined the Japan-based team in 2020 and was WRC runner-up in both his first two seasons as a Yaris driver.

After finishing fourth in 2022 he clinched second place for a third time in four years with victory in 2023's season-ending Rally Japan.

Rovanpera successfully defended his world title in 2023, having become the youngest WRC champion at the age of 22 in 2022.

The Finnish driver says he will return to a full-time programme in 2025, but explained his decision to car-share in 2024 as a need to recharge.

"The biggest reason is that I've been driving rally for a really, really long time," said Rovanpera.

"I just found that was a good moment to take a bit of a break, to recharge the batteries and to have a bit of time off to focus on the future and to have more energy and more push in the coming years."

Japan's Takamoto Katsuta will drive Gazoo Racing's second Yaris Rally1 hybrid next season, while Rovanpera will share the team's third car with eight-time world champion Ogier.

The French legend has raced part time on the WRC calendar for the past two seasons since pipping Evans to the title in the final race of 2021.

The Welshman, along with co-driver Scott Martin, will hope that with both rivals effectively out of overall contention it will be his turn to bring Toyota their fourth successive victory.

The WRC returns in 2024 when the Monte Carlo Rally opens the new season from 25-28 January.