Kalle Rovanperä has stormed to a dominant Rally Estonia victory for the third year in a row with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team, extending his lead in the FIA World Rally Championship.
|Guided by co-driver Jonne Halttunen, Rovanperä once again looked at home aboard his GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID on some of the fastest roads in the WRC. He held a narrow lead at the end of Friday despite having to run first on the loose gravel stages, and was quite literally unbeatable thereafter as he pulled clear of the competition.He recorded a remarkable run of 13 consecutive stage wins from Saturday morning until the rally-ending Power Stage on Sunday afternoon – becoming the first driver to have such a streak of fastest times on a WRC round since Sébastien Loeb in Germany 15 years ago.Quickest in the finale by two seconds, he secured his second win of the season by 52.7s overall and claimed the maximum 30 points to increase his standings lead to 55 points. The victory is his 10th in the WRC in the two years since he became its youngest-ever winner on Rally Estonia 2021.Elfyn Evans remains second in the drivers’ standings after he and co-driver Scott Martin were second-fastest in the Power Stage and finished fourth overall following a thrilling fight for the final place on the podium with Esapekka Lappi (Hyundai) – finishing just 7.3s away. Takamoto Katsuta and co-driver Aaron Johnston finished seventh overall, only 0.3 seconds away from a place in the top six. TGR-WRT has increased its manufacturers’ championship lead to 57 points.
Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)
“Kalle really dominated this rally. To start as first car on the road on Friday and be able to be leading by the end of the day, and then be fastest in every stage on Saturday and Sunday, winning the Power Stage – it’s just total domination. This is probably the strongest rally for him on the calendar, it’s like a home rally to him and the one he loves to drive the most, and he took the absolute maximum from it which is great for his title defence. We also saw a very good fight from Elfyn and he did a strong drive on the Power Stage to be second-fastest, scoring really valuable points for himself but also for the manufacturers’ championship where we have increased our lead. It has been fantastic to have Sato-san with us this weekend and to share the celebrations with him. Now we look forward to the team’s home rally in Finland in two weeks and hope we can win there too.”
PROVISIONAL FINAL CLASSIFICATION, RALLY ESTONIA 1 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) 2h36m03.1s
2 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +52.7s
3 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +59.5s
4 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +1m06.8s
5 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +2m21.1s
6 Pierre-Louis Loubet/Nicolas Gilsoul (Ford Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +3m09.9s
7 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +3m10.2s
8 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Ford Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +6m25.6s
9 Andreas Mikkelsen/Torstein Eriksen (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +9m54.1s
10 Sami Pajari/Enni Mälkönen (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +10m03.8s
(Results as of 14:30 on Sunday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)
Rally Finland (August 3-6) is the fastest rally on the calendar, run over smooth gravel roads containing many jumps. It’s also a home rally for TGR-WRT, which has its headquarters close to the service park in Jyväskylä.