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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Evans storms into the lead, Rovanpera crashes out

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Title contender Evans produced one of many best loop of phases of his WRC profession, successful all 4 gravel exams to leapfrog the Hyundais of Ott Tanak and in a single day chief Craig Breen.

Because of this, Evans ended the morning with a 5.6s lead over Breen whereas Tanak is 9.7s adrift.

Nonetheless, the massive story of the morning was Rovanpera’s demise, because the Acropolis Rally winner crashed out on Stage 10, the ultimate take a look at of the loop.

The Finn had struggled for tempo on the earlier three phases, slipping away from the lead battle in fourth spot, when he misplaced the rear of his Yaris and ploughed right into a pile of gravel positioned in entrance of a telegraph pole.

Wildcard Toyota runner Esapekka Lappi ended the morning fourth total, forward of Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville, whereas championship chief Sebastien Ogier was a subdued sixth over a minute off the tempo. 

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The fierce battle for the lead resumed in earnest on the opening stage of the day, which was gained by Evans, who reported his feeling was “even higher” than Friday.

The Welshman was probably the most assured of his rivals on the slippery gravel, posting a time that was 0.2s sooner than overnight rally leader Breen.

The Irishman, in what is predicted to be his final outing within the third Hyundai this season, felt he misplaced between 5 and eight seconds within the stage by way of hesitation. 

“I simply have to preserve the balls on the sprint and preserve going,” mentioned Breen, who took his maiden WRC podium with third for Citroen in 2016. “It was a pleasant run I actually loved it. The race is on.”

Craig Breen, Paul Nagle, Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

Picture by: Fabien Dufour / Hyundai Motorsport

Tanak was amongst a bunch of drivers fighting confidence to push flat out, as he dropped 1.4s to Evans.

Rovanpera fared worse, dropping 4.6s, however he did handle to beat 2017 Finland winner Lappi to say fourth total – albeit additional again from the lead in comparison with Friday night time.

“It was a clear run, however am not totally proud of the automobile and myself additionally,” mentioned Rovanpera. “It is tougher than it must be – I can’t be as exact as I need.”

Neuville responded from a poor finish to Friday to complete the stage fourth quickest.

The rally modified complexion on the subsequent stage as Evans jumped from third to the lead following his greatest drive of the occasion to date. He blitzed Stage 8, successful the take a look at by 4.2s from Tanak, however crucially took 6.2s out of Breen to open up a 0.9s total lead.

“Elfyn has executed an actual blinder in there,” mentioned Breen. “I struggled a bit with grip, however that is an incredible time.” 

Neuville’s resurgence continued to clock a time sooner than Rovanpera, because the latter continued to drop even additional again from the lead.

“I knew this stage was going to be tough and I can’t do something extra,” mentioned Rovanpera. “I’m simply making an attempt to outlive on the highway – I am sliding a lot and I simply do not have the grip to do anything.”

Worse was to befall Rovanpera’s team-mate Katsuta, who retired after clipping a tree on the stage. The impression broken the appropriate rear of the Yaris and fired him into the undergrowth, the place he turned stranded.   

Kalle Rovanperä, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Kalle Rovanperä, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Picture by: Toyota Racing

Evans continued his streak of stage wins on the penultimate take a look at of the morning to additional lengthen his total benefit over Breen.

This time the Toyota driver’s nearest rival was Rovanpera, who ended the stage just one.6s shy.

Breen dropped 3.1s to the brand new chief, whereas Tanak misplaced an additional six tenths.

Evans accomplished his dominant show by successful the ultimate take a look at by 1.6s from Breen, whereas Tanak was 3.7s additional again.

Rovanpera’s crash allowed Lappi, the only real remaining Finn, to climb to fourth on the general leaderboard.

Rally Finland continues on Saturday afternoon with a second move by way of the morning phases adopted by a repeat of Friday’s opening stage beneath lights.

WRC Finland classification after SS9:

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