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Rovanpera extends lead as Mikkelsen suffers tyre situation

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World rally champion Kalle Rovanpera prolonged his Rally Poland lead on Sunday morning, whereas drama for Hyundai’s Andreas Mikkelsen shook up the leaderboard.

The last-minute alternative for injured Toyota team-mate Sebastien Ogier, Rovanpera opened up a snug 18.1s lead after Mikkelsen misplaced virtually a minute when he knocked a tyre off the rim in stage 16.

This promoted Toyota’s Elfyn Evans to second, with M-Sport’s Adrien Fourmaux [+38.8s] third and Hyundai’s championship chief Thierry Neuville now fourth [+ 1m08.4s].

Mikkelsen was demoted to fifth [+1m21.6s], whereas WRC top-flight debutant Martins Sesks was sixth [+1m23.4s] forward of M-Sport team-mate Gregoire Munster [+1m56.6s] and Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta [+2m10.0s].

Within the Tremendous Sunday standings, the returning Ott Tanak, who retired his Hyundai on Friday and Saturday, topped the classification from Rovanpera, Fourmaux, Evans, Neuville, Sesks and Katsuta.

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The opening check of the loop, Stage 16 [Gmina Mragowo, 20.80km], proved to be a very difficult, quick and slender check.

Rally chief Rovanpera admitted he was involved heading into Sunday’s levels, as these roads have been the “worst” by way of his restricted preparation for the rally.

Nevertheless, the Finn once more confirmed his class to publish the second quickest stage time which prolonged his rally result in 17.4s.

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, Hyundai World Rally Staff Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Picture by: Fabien Dufour / Hyundai Motorsport

Rovanpera’s time was 1.2s slower than the returning Tanak, who shocked the opposition with a blistering time regardless of dealing with the drawback of opening the street.

“I stunned myself by the point,” stated Tanak who took an early lead within the Tremendous Sunday standings.

The time earned loads of plaudits from his rivals, together with Rovanpera, whereas Fourmaux described the Estonian driver as being on “one other degree”.

Evans and Fourmaux have been third and fourth quickest on the stage, however climbed to second and third within the total standings after drama struck Mikkelsen when he clipped a financial institution.

The Norwegian’s influence knocked the right-rear tyre off the rim. It then delaminated, ripping the bodywork from the automotive and leading to a time lack of 54.7s.

“There’s so many banks right here and we touched one and it caught a tyre off the rim,” he stated. “We tried to maintain the strain on Kalle and preserve the tempo.”

Mikkelsen wasn’t the one driver to come across drama, as a left-rear tyre got here off the rim of Munster’s Ford Puma.

WRC2 runner Josh McErlean exited fourth at school when he hit a bale on the closing nook. It took out the best rear suspension from his Skoda, which crossed the flying end backwards.

Andreas Mikkelsen, Torstein Eriksen, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Andreas Mikkelsen, Torstein Eriksen, Hyundai World Rally Staff Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Picture by: Austral / Hyundai Motorsport

Neuville was 5.6s quicker than Sesks, which resulted within the Belgian taking up fifth within the total standings.

Tanak’s spectacular begin to Sunday continued with a victory on stage 17 [Mikolajki, 10.73km], which is able to host the rally-ending Energy Stage.

Though sad with the man-made chicanes positioned within the stage, he posted a time 0.7s quicker than Fourmaux with Neuville an additional two tenths again.

Rovanpera was pissed off by his run, which was 2.1s slower, however he was faster than team-mate Evans by 0.7s.

Mikkelsen elected to again off after the tyre drama on the earlier check, which dropped him behind Neuville within the total standings.

Sami Pajari maintained the lead within the WRC2 standings, however his nearest rival is now Robert Virves after leapfrogging Oliver Solberg.

A repeat of the loop will conclude Rally Poland this afternoon.

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