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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Rovanpera seals gorgeous win after last-minute name up

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Kalle Rovanpera sealed one of many best victories of his World Rally Championship profession at Rally Poland after overcoming restricted preparation as a last-minute stand-in for Toyota team-mate Sebastien Ogier.

Rovanpera and co-driver Jonne Halttunen gained eight of the 19 gravel levels on the best way to finishing a exceptional victory by 28.3s from Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin.

M-Sport’s Adrien Fourmaux and Alex Coria secured their third WRC podium of the season in third, 42.3s behind.

Having scaled again to a part-time programme for 2024, reigning world champion Rovanpera was servicing his jet ski when he acquired the call-up to fly to Poland following the withdrawal of Ogier, who was dominated out of the occasion following a highway visitors accident conducting the recce on Tuesday.

Consequently, the Finn headed Poland having not accomplished any preparation for the rally and was given particular dispensation to endure a rushed recce of the levels that was accomplished hours earlier than the opening take a look at.

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Whereas pissed off and generally cautious of attacking on the levels by means of first passes, Rovanpera starred within the second run by means of levels to finish a closely interrupted Friday, blighted by spectator-controlling points on Poland’s return to the WRC for the primary time since 2017, just one.8s adrift of the rally lead. This was held by Hyundai’s fast-starting Andreas Mikkelsen, who picked up his first stage win since Wales Rally GB 2019.

Organisers had been pressured to cancel levels three and 7, whereas stage six was briefly red-flagged. The motion was taken due a minority of the massive variety of followers that flocked to the levels standing in harmful areas.

Kalle Rovanperä, Jonne Halttunen, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Photograph by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Police had been redeployed to the forestry areas the place the problems had been occurring on Saturday, which appeared to unravel the problem because the day ran with just one temporary stoppage.

Solely 7.7s coated the highest 5 getting into the day, with Evans two seconds behind Mikkelsen however forward of Fourmaux and spectacular Rally1 debutant Martins Sesks, who ran as excessive as second in a non-hybrid M-Sport Ford Puma. Championship chief Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville, deprived by opening the highway, was seventh behind Gregoire Munster (M-Sport).

Rovanpera claimed the rally lead on stage 10, earlier than happening to win six of the seven levels to open up a 9.4s lead over Mikkelsen heading into the ultimate day. Evans was third, 16.1s adrift, having run as excessive as second earlier than struggling a right-rear tyre delamination in stage 13.

Rovanpera drove neatly throughout Sunday’s closing 4 levels, which he had expressed essentially the most concern about, to safe a powerful second win of the yr following March’s triumph in Kenya.

However Mikkelsen’s spectacular efficiency on his first gravel begin in a Rally1 automotive unravelled when he hit a financial institution in stage 16 that knocked his right-rear tyre off the rim, costing the Norwegian 54.7s. He ultimately completed the rally in sixth place, behind Sesks.

This promoted Evans again to second, which he held till the end regardless of struggling a puncture within the Energy Stage. He secured 17 factors to chop the hole to championship chief Neuville to fifteen factors. 

Fourmaux loved a strong run all through the rally to assert his third profession WRC podium, matching his earlier greatest leads to Sweden and Kenya.

Neuville completed fourth total [+1m10.8s] however may solely rating 14 factors after ending fifth on Saturday, fifth within the Sunday classification and first on the Energy Stage.

Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Crew Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Photograph by: Fabien Dufour / Hyundai Motorsport

Having been pressured to retire his Hyundai on Friday after an unavoidable collision with a deer, rally favorite Ott Tanak rejoined the fray on Saturday. However Hyundai opted to withdraw Tanak on Saturday afternoon, since he was out of the working for the primary tranche of factors, and permit him to give attention to the Tremendous Sunday factors. It proved to be an impressed name because the Estonian secured 11 factors for topping the Sunday classification and inserting second within the Energy Stage. 

Consequently, Tanak’s haul from working solely eight levels has left the 2019 champion 21 factors behind chief Neuville.

Munster, who confirmed flashes of pace, secured seventh by ending 8.7s forward of Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta.

Toyota protege Sami Pajari who took the WRC2 class win from Oliver Solberg, the pair finishing the highest 10 total.

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