The Toyota driver completed Saturday’s eight stages in contention for victory, with the Welshman 8.2s behind surprise leader Hyundai’s Tanaka after his teammate Thierry Neuville shockingly retired from the lead.
Evans struggled to find the best position in his GR Yaris throughout the tarmac event, but he managed to hang on to the leading Hyundais in Saturday’s stages.
Evans, who was second overall after Neuville’s crash in the pit during Saturday’s penultimate stage, feels he has a chance to end his winning drought that stretches back to last October’s Rally Finland.
Evans’ best result of the 2022 campaign to date is second place in Portugal, Kenya and Estonia, each time beaten by championship leader and team-mate Kale Rovanpera.
Asked if he might reconsider Tanaka’s leadership, he said: “Yes, yes [doable] in a sense. It’s not going to be easy on a rally like this, but of course we’re there to try to do our best and see what’s possible.
“The thing is, with this rally, you push too hard and you end up going slower.
“It’s about a better balance between pressure and efficiency. It’s not just something to hang on the doorknob.”
Looking ahead to Sunday’s stages, Evans says his team will be looking to see if there are any changes to his set-up that could provide more pace, but is wary that there won’t be much to gain in this area.
“There’s not a lot on offer, that’s the bottom line,” he added when asked about learning the setup for Sunday.
Elphin Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1
Photo: Toyota Racing
“We are so new to cars. We’ll definitely look at it tonight and look for some edges, but I don’t know, let’s say, if there’s a transformation available.”
Rally leader Tanak expects to face Evans on Sunday, meaning he cannot afford any mistakes in the final four stages.
“It’s definitely better to be eight seconds ahead than behind,” Tanak said.
“It’s definitely not easy to get eight seconds back, but we still have quite a lot of kilometers to go, so we definitely can’t miss any junctions and we need to be really on point.
“But I think it’s still a better chance for us than Elfin, he really needs to push.”