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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Rovanpera claims early lead with tremendous particular win

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The Toyota driver set the tempo on the 1.48km asphalt stage, held in entrance of a bumper crowd that had congregated across the Athens harbour.

The stage was the primary aggressive operating for WRC crews after organisers were forced to cancel the shakedown stage in host city Lamia because of the results of Storm Daniel.

Torrential rain and thunderstorms have induced flash flooding throughout Greece however organisers stay assured the rally can proceed safely.

Rovanpera wasted little time in getting in control on the rally’s opening stage, posting a time 0.3 seconds quicker than nearest rival, Hyundai’s Esapekka Lappi.

“I’ve to hope that the circumstances are higher for me than they usually are within the dry,” mentioned Rovanpera, who will begin Friday’s motion first on the highway.

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“After the frustration in Finland, I need to do a superb rally and we’ve to struggle for it.”

Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville was third quickest, a tenth slower than his team-mate however is feeling assured about his probabilities.

“I haven’t felt this good for a very long time within the automobile, so I’m wanting ahead,” mentioned Neuville.

“We had nice pace within the final two occasions, that’s for positive and there’s extra to come back.”

Thierry Neuville, Hyundai World Rally Group

Picture by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Dani Sordo ensured there have been three Hyundais within the prime 4, 0.5s adrift of Rovanpera.

Ott Tanak led M-Sport-Ford’s cost in fifth, 0.6s quicker than eight-time world champion Sebastian Ogier, who’s making his first WRC begin since profitable Safari Rally Kenya in June.

Ogier’s Toyota team-mate Takamoto Katsuta posted an an identical time to share sixth place.

M-Sport’s Pierre-Louis Loubet was seventh whereas Elfyn Evans, Rovanpera’s foremost title rival, might solely muster the twelfth quickest time, 2.8s shy of the tempo.

Evans ended the stage behind WRC2 runners Andreas Mikkelsen, Nikolay Gryazin and Marco Bulacia.

“We now have to see what is feasible – I don’t assume anybody is aware of what’s in entrance of them, so we simply must cope with it as we see it,” mentioned Evans waiting for Friday’s phases.

The rally will head 200km north west on Friday as crews put together to deal with 5 gravel phases comprising 102km.

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