The M-Sport Ford driver was unable to start last weekend’s Neste Rally Finland after hurting his back in a heavy landing at July’s Shell Helix Rally Estonia preparation event.

Doctors have been monitoring the Welshman’s progress and decided that a return on ’s asphalt roads is not possible. No replacement has yet been confirmed by the team but a decision is expected very shortly.

“It’s very frustrating to be missing rallies at such a critical point in the season, but I need to ensure the injury heals properly,” explained Evans, who is fourth in the drivers’ standings.

“As tempting as it would be to ‘just get on with it,’ and come back, the reality is that I need more time so that when I do return, I’m returning at full strength with no compromises.

“I feel me and Scott (co-driver Martin) had a solid start to the season, and I’m doing everything I can to aid the process and be back as soon as possible to build on what we started during the first half of the season.”

Fellow Briton Gus Greensmith replaced Evans in Finland for only his second appearance in a Ford Fiesta World Rally Car.

He was lying ninth, one place behind team-mate , when he crashed into a tree in Sunday’s first pass through the Ruuhimäki speed test after a pace note misunderstanding.

Greensmith will again be under consideration, as will Eric Camilli. The Frenchman, who drove M-Sport’s new Fiesta R5 in Finland, is an asphalt expert and won 2 in two seasons ago.

New Zealand’s Hayden Paddon, who was due to drive a Fiesta World Rally Car in Finland until a huge test accident three days before the start damaged it beyond repair, will also be a contender. He finished fifth in in 2016.


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