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Rovanpera relieved to finish WRC victory drought after “arduous time”

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The reigning world champion delivered one of his finest drives to beat Hyundai’s Dani Sordo by 54.7s and seal most factors by profitable the Energy Stage.

The victory was made much more spectacular given he was second within the highway order forward of Friday’s dusty gravel levels.

Rovanpera had endured a quiet begin to his title defence heading into Portugal having scored just one podium from the earlier 4 rounds, whereas his final victory arrived in October final 12 months when he clinched the world championship at Rally New Zealand.

The Finn has nevertheless remained within the thick of the title combat ending fourth within the earlier rounds in Sweden, Mexico and Croatia, the place highway place and misfortune have hampered his cost.

Requested if it was a reduction to be again on the highest step of the rostrum, he mentioned: “Yeah it has been a bit too lengthy coming however I knew once we get a clear weekend and a great drive we might be again within the sport. It was good to have it right here and be again.

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“The whole lot was prefer it ought to be with the automobile so we have been a again on the sport and pushing on. You all the time miss the sensation if you find yourself not there and it’s good to be again.”

Kalle Rovanperä, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Picture by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

When interviewed on the finish of the ultimate stage, Rovanpera was fast to reward co-driver Jonne Halttunen, his Toyota crew and a detailed pal for serving to him by way of a tough few months.

“It has been too lengthy coming, however lastly we’re again,” he mentioned.

“I’ve to say an enormous thanks to Jonne and the crew. They’ve been pushing on a regular basis and going ahead. I even have to present a great thanks to my excellent pal Arttu. I’ve been having a tough time for the reason that finish of final 12 months personally, and he has been pushing me to come back again.”

Regardless of having the rally underneath management, Rovanpera was nonetheless hungry to attain most factors from the Energy Stage, which he achieved by beating M-Sport’s Ott Tanak by 0.7s.

Consequently he’ll now head to Sardinia with a 17-point lead within the championship standings.

“I needed to attain as many factors as potential as a result of I knew we have been going to must open the highway in Sardinia if we completed like this [with a win],” he added.

“I pushed for the Energy Stage, it wasn’t excellent however it was sufficient.”

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