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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Rovanpera, Ogier break up by a second, Evans suffers pacenote concern

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Reigning world champion Rovanpera snatched the rally lead on stage six, however the margin by no means grew bigger than a second because the part-time driver battled with a GR Yaris that wasn’t too his liking.

The Finn, who ended Friday morning in third, held onto the lead regardless of a late assault from Ogier, who shot from fourth to second on the day’s remaining stage.     

The battle on the entrance proved extremely tight with 5.4s overlaying the highest 4. Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta ended the day in third [+4.7s] after main on the noon tyre becoming zone and sitting second till the ultimate stage. Hyundai’s Ott Tanak, who was preventing his i20N all day, ran as excessive as third earlier than dropping to fourth.   

Hyundai’s Dani Sordo claimed three stage wins on his return to the WRC since to take a seat fifth [+17.9s], 0.2s forward of team-mate and a championship chief Thierry Neuville. Confronted with the drawback of being first on the highway, in a single day chief Neuville restricted the injury be ending the morning in a positive second, earlier than dropping to sixth [+18.1s] after the afternoon loop.

M-Sport’s Adrien Fourmaux drove neatly to stay in seventh [+31.8s], forward of Evans [+1m43.2s] who misplaced time to a puncture on stage seven, whereas his co-driver Scott Martin was with out his pacenote e book. Gregoire Munster [2m27.3s] accomplished the Rally1 area after a trouble-free run. The highest 10 was rounded out by WRC2 class chief Oliver Solberg, who edged Yohan Rossel by 7.3s.        

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Katsuta’s morning lead going into the afternoon was short-lived. The Japanese misplaced the benefit by the smallest of margins after the afternoon’s first check [Stage 6, Lousa, 12.28km]. 

The second move of Lousa offered a a lot drier and abrasive floor offering rather more of a problem.

Picture by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

It was Ogier who set the tempo after benefitting from some setup adjustments made on the noon tyre becoming zone. The five-time Portugal winner managed to set a time 1.1s sooner than team-mate Rovanpera with Sordo, third, 2.2s in arrears. The hassle was sufficient to push Ogier from fifth to 3rd general.

“The tyre helps however we made some little adjustments,” mentioned Ogier, who gambled on taking just one spare wheel. “I really feel a bit higher now however we’ve had higher days. No threat, no enjoyable.”

The stage supplied even higher information for Rovanpera as he leapt into the rally lead by 0.1s from Katsuta, who dropped 4.5s.

Rovanpera revealed he was nonetheless preventing his automotive which was “nonetheless not 100%” particularly on the tough locations.”

Neuville additionally surrendered second, dropping to fifth general after dropping 5.4s. Neuville and co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe appeared to have a difficulty with their timecard on the finish of the stage, earlier than it was swiftly resolved.

Title rival Evans endured a continuation of his setup points from the morning. The Welshman ceded 10.9s, whereas a mere 6.9s lined the highest six general.

Evans’ tough begin to the rally was magnified by two points on stage 7 [Gois, 14.30km]. Co-driver Scott Martin needed to ship pacenotes from a cell phone having left his pacenote e book on a desk on the stage six, time management. Martin unusually received out of the automotive to move to the time management after the timecard delay for Neuville in entrance. To make issues worse, a entrance proper wheel got here off the rim which contributed to a 52.6s time loss that reduce them adrift of the highest seven general.

The stage was received by Sordo, his third quickest time of the day to maneuver into fifth general forward of team-mate Neuville, who was 4.9s slower than his Spanish team-mate.

Rovanpera was third quickest on the check a tenth sooner than Katsuta, which resulted within the former doubling his general result in 0.2s over his Toyota team-mate.

“It’s powerful, we’re undoubtedly nowhere close to the place the automotive must be,” mentioned a pissed off Rovanpera. “I’m preventing on a regular basis, now we have understeer and the whole lot so it’s making tyre put on worse and worse.”

The hole between the highest six continued to slender as 6.3s whereas Fourmaux drifted away from the sector, 19.3s behind in seventh.

The battle for the victory took one other twist on the day’s penultimate stage [Arganil, 18.72km]. Regardless of wrestling his automotive, Rovanpera managed to say his first stage win of the occasion so far, pipping Tanak, additionally battling his Hyundai, by 0.1s.

“I attempted so exhausting, it’s not good. I have to strive exhausting however altogether it’s not working,” mentioned Tanak, who climbed to 3rd general after Ogier misplaced 2.4s, having been hampered by a hybrid concern at first of the stage.

Rovanpera was solely in a position to lengthen his rally result in 1.0s over Katsuta because of a positive effort from the Japanese to achieve the stage finish, 0.8s adrift. It was one other stage outlined by tight margins as 6.6s break up the highest seven throughout the 18.72km stage.

Evans and Martin valiantly battled on with the latter utilizing his again up pacenotes with the injury solely a 14.7s time loss.

“We couldn’t write the day actually, nothing goes our approach,” mentioned Evans.

The ultimate stage supplied one other shake as much as the leaderboard brought on by a charging Ogier. The Frenchman, eager to safe a greater highway place for Saturday, set a blistering tempo to win the check by 3.2s from Rovanpera.

The hassle hauled Ogier forward of Katsuta and Tanak to second general, one second behind chief Rovnapera.   

9 phases are scheduled for Saturday’s leg, comprising 145.02 kilometres. 

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