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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Rovanpera scythes into Ogier’s lead as rain causes chaos

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Eight-time world champion Ogier began Saturday with a 22.8s lead and the Toyota driver went on to stamp his authority on the occasion within the afternoon.

Nevertheless, heavy rain arrived throughout the day’s ultimate stage, which allowed Rovanpera to chop Ogier’s result in 16.7s forward of Sunday’s ultimate six levels.

Toyota’s Elfyn Evans ended the day in 2m23.3s down on Rovanpera in third after leapfrogging team-mate Takamoto Katsuta within the difficult moist circumstances in stage 13. Dani Sordo led Hyundai’s cost in fifth (+3m52.3s) after team-mate Esapekka Lappi retired on stage 11 with a mechanical situation.

M-Sport’s Ott Tanak and Pierre-Louis Loubet managed to outlive to carry onto sixth and seventh general, whereas Thierry Neuville has recovered to ninth after his Friday retirement behind WRC2 chief Kajetan Kajetanowicz.

The afternoon started with Ogier seemingly placing a cease to Rovanpera’s Saturday morning cost by claiming his sixth stage win within the 29.32km Soysambu take a look at, which was held in a lot drier circumstances in comparison with the morning cross.

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Ogier was 6.4s sooner than nearest rival Rovanpera, however the Frenchman’s run wasn’t fully clear after reaching the stage finish with foliage protruding from his GR Yaris.

Rovanpera admitted that he wasn’t pushing within the stage together with his predominant deal with bringing the automotive to the top of the day, given his title rivals Tanak and Neuville have been sitting sixth and 14th respectively.

However the large story from the stage was the demise of Lappi, who pulled off the stage and into retirement with a prop shaft-related situation. The Finn suffered an analogous drawback in Wednesday’s shakedown.

Lappi’s woes handed Evans third general, though the Welshman was solely 2.8s forward of the chasing Katsuta.

Esapekka Lappi, Janne Ferm, Hyundai World Rally Crew Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Picture by: Tomek Kaliński

Tanak inherited sixth, however misplaced 1m30s as a result of his second wheel change of the occasion.

Ogier continued his stranglehold of the rally by taking 3.5s from Rovanpera in stage 12, Elmenteita.

“I simply attempt to do my job and never do any errors,” stated Ogier, who was second quickest behind stage winner Katsuta. “Hopefully we keep out of bother up till the top of the day now.”

Katsuta’s first stage win of the occasion was sufficient to say third general from Evans by a margin of two.1s, whereas Rovanpera was resigned to simply holding onto second general.

“Undoubtedly now, with EP [Lappi] additionally dropped out, there are such large gaps behind and if nothing occurs it is unattainable to catch Seb by driving,” stated Rovanpera. “I do not wish to take large dangers anymore.”

The much-anticipated rain lastly arrived because the heavens opened in the direction of the top of the day’s ultimate take a look at (Sleeping Warrior, 31.04km). It created extremely treacherous circumstances as crews skated round on rocky muddy roads, struggling for traction.

The slippery street floor performed into Rovanpera’s palms because the Finn deployed his well-known moist climate driving abilities to take 15.3s out of Ogier’s lead.

“Final yr was slippy however nothing like this,” stated Rovanpera. “Even on the straights, second gear was fairly high-speed. We’re right here in a single piece and that was the one purpose for as we speak.”

Kalle Rovanperä, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Kalle Rovanperä, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Picture by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Ogier discovered the going powerful within the stage, enduring a wild slide early on, earlier than selecting up punctures to each entrance tyres in the direction of the top.

“I can not say that I’ve a lot luck with these tyres, however that is the best way it’s,” stated Ogier.

Tanak, Loubet and Katsuta all suffered spins as they scrambled for grip, the latter broken his rear wing in one in every of his wild moments.

The trio all survived to succeed in the stage finish however Katsuta misplaced his grip of third general. The rally will conclude following six extra levels on Sunday.

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