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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Untouchable Rovanpera wins 9 levels in a row

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The reigning world champion delivered his finest show of the season to this point to remodel a 3.0s in a single day benefit right into a 34.9s over Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville.

Neuville misplaced 6.5s to a sluggish puncture through the morning loop however was unable to match the tempo of the Toyota driver.

Hyundai’s Esapekka Lappi will head into Sunday with a 7.3s margin over Toyota’s Elfyn Evans after an intense battle over third that ebbed and flowed over the day.

Teemu Suninen ended the day in a lonely fifth (+1m41.5s) on his Rally1 debut forward of M-Sport’s Pierre-Louis Loubet (+2m25.5s), Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta (+2m32.5s), and residential hero Ott Tanak, who recovered to eighth (+5m55.2s) after beginning the day in eleventh place.

After a clear sweep of the morning’s 4 levels, Rovanpera’s relentless tempo confirmed no indicators of abating when the motion resumed on Saturday afternoon.

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The Toyota driver notched up his fifth consecutive quickest time in Stage 13 (Elva 11.73km) with a time 3.6s quicker than his nearest rival Neuville. It was a outcome that got here as a shock to the rally chief.

“I used to be certain that for the primary time at this time it was not a superb time. I used to be not pushing a lot, for certain the driving was clear, however I felt like I left a while in there,” stated Rovanpera.

Lappi was solely 0.2s slower than team-mate Neuville however crucially the Finn was 0.6s faster than Evans to edge additional clear within the battle for third total.

Exterior of the battle for the rostrum locations, Tanak’s move by means of the stage was hampered by a steering rack problem that he claimed stemmed from mistake made through the noon service. He was in a position to rectify the geometry of his Puma earlier than stage 14 (Kanepi, 16.48km).

Rovanpera prolonged his stage successful streak in Kanepi with yet one more mesmerising efficiency. Neuville had posted a benchmark that appeared a contender to problem for a stage win earlier than Rovanpera blew that out of the water by 3.8s to increase his rally result in 27.7s.

Lappi as soon as once more had the sting over Evans to place 3.7s between himself and the Welshman because the battle for third total continued.

Pierre-Louis Loubet, Nicolas Gilsoul, M-Sport Ford World Rally Workforce Ford Puma Rally1

Photograph by: M-Sport

There was nevertheless drama for Loubet and Katsuta, who had been concerned in a battle for fifth total.

Loubet was pressured to finish the stage with out hybrid energy which helped Katsuta the hole between the pair to six.7s. Loubet was in a position to see help to revive his hybrid energy on the following regroup.

Though as Katsuta reached the stage finish there was panic etched over his face when his GR Yaris gave the impression to be caught in stage mode, earlier than the automotive misplaced energy utterly on the time management.

Fortunately he was in a position to fireplace the automotive up once more after he and co-driver Aaron Johnston pushed the automotive out of the management zone.

Katsuta was again up to the mark for stage 15 after revealing that he had suffered myriad of points together with an intercom downside that prompted the Japanese to modify crash helmets with Johnston. Nevertheless it was his rally main team-mate Rovanpera that continued to assert the headlines within the second move by means of Elva.

Fully relaxed behind the wheel, Rovanpera went on to attain his ninth stage win of the occasion to open up a 30.9s lead over Neuville, who was 10s away from third-placed Lappi.

The yo-yo battle between Evans and Lappi for third swung again within the former’s path because the hole got here all the way down to 2.7s. Evans was in a position to take a second out of Lappi, who was visibly distraught together with his effort having “pushed like hell” within the check.

Nevertheless, Lappi dug deep to battle again on the next check, Stage 16, to submit a time 2.9s quicker than Evans to push the margin again out to five.6s.

It was Rovanpera on the high of the timesheets as he continued his masterclass show by racking up an eighth stage win in a row by 2.7s from Neuville, who had a quick look with an embankment throughout his run.

Rovanpera accomplished a clear sweep of Saturday’s levels by taking the ultimate tremendous particular of the day by 0.9s. Lappi was Rovanpera’s nearest rival on the three.35km brief blast as the previous put one other 1.7s between him and Evans within the battle for the ultimate podium.

4 extra levels await the crews on Sunday.

WRC Estonia Saturday outcomes

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