Estonia WRC: Rovanpera extends lead to close in on victory

Kalle Rovanpera further extended his Rally Estonia lead over as Toyota star edged closer to a record-breaking maiden World Rally Championship victory.

Listen to this article

The 20-year-old Finn showed no signs of nerves as he cooly completed the opening three stages of the final day, opening his advantage over Hyundai’s Craig Breen to 54.2s.

Given his comfortable margin, Rovanpera seemingly only needs to complete the final three stages to become the youngest-ever WRC winner. 

"It feels good, but we just need to wait for the finish," said Rovanpera. “Anything can happen in rally so the plan is the same, just to enjoy the second loop also."

Local hero Ott Tanak and Thierry Neuville shared stage victories on the first two tests for Hyundai, before the latter took the spoils in the last test of the loop, the dress rehearsal of the rally-ending Power Stage.

As a result, Neuville closed to within 20.6s of Breen, while championship leader Sebastien Ogier occupied fourth comfortably ahead of Toyota teammate and title rival Elfyn Evans.

M-Sport Ford’s Teemu Suninen ended the loop sixth ahead of the fourth Hyundai of Pierre-Louis Loubet.     

Tanak started the final day where he left off on Saturday as he set the pace on the opening stage despite opening the road.

The Estonian was matched by teammate Neuville who punched in a solid time to share the stage win.

Leader Rovanpera took a sensible approach completing the first test of the day 1.8s slower, but his measured drive did in fact take time out of his nearest rival Breen.

M-Sport’s Gus Greensmith was lucky to reach the stage as another engine issue, this time spark plug related, resulted in the Brit checking in late for the stage, and he copped a two minute penalty in the process.

For the second stage in a row Tanak and Neuville shared the spoils after setting identical times on the penultimate run of the loop, a 11.72km blast through Elva.

Rovnapera held his nerve and again extended his lead over Breen by another 3.2s despite driving in a relative cruise mode.

Ogier and Evans continued to hold station in fourth and fifth overall respectively. 

Neuville completed a perfect practice run of the technical Tartu Vald stage that will act as the Power Stage. The Belgian took the honours by 0.1s from Ogier, while Evans was third 2.5s further back.

Breen was 0.2s faster than rally leader Rovanpera as the pair came through the loop of stages unscathed.

In WRC2, Mads Ostberg continued his charge to reel in leader Andreas Mikkelsen, ending the loop only 17.2s adrift.

The field will complete second run through the trio of stages to conclude the rally. 

shares
comments

Related video

Rovanpera “could not have been better” on WRC Rally Estonia
Previous article

Rovanpera “could not have been better” on WRC Rally Estonia

Next article

Estonia WRC: Rovanpera becomes youngest-ever rally winner

Estonia WRC: Rovanpera becomes youngest-ever rally winner
How trailblazer Kalle Rovanpera has ripped up the WRC record book Prime

How trailblazer Kalle Rovanpera has ripped up the WRC record book

At the tender age of 22, Kalle Rovanpera is redefining what’s possible to achieve in rallying and inspiring a new legion of fans as a result. The newly-crowned World Rally Championship title-winner and his peers reflect on his ability and the start of his success in the top tier.

WRC
1 h
How Hyundai and Neuville gatecrashed Toyota's homecoming party Prime

How Hyundai and Neuville gatecrashed Toyota's homecoming party

Thierry Neuville signed off the 2022 World Rally Championship season with his second win of the season in Japan after Toyota rival Elfyn Evans suffered a late puncture. With Sebastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanpera also delayed by punctures and incidents, it opened the door for Neuville and Ott Tanak to record Hyundai's second 1-2 of the season in Toyota's own backyard

WRC
Nov 14, 2022
The message a WRC stalwart sent which its new king couldn’t answer Prime

The message a WRC stalwart sent which its new king couldn’t answer

Sebastien Ogier might be the outgoing World Rally champion, but it didn’t stop him reminding everyone of the skills that made him an eight-time world champion. As victory at Rally Spain led Toyota’s charge to a titles clean sweep, it did pose a question to newly-crowned champion Kalle Rovanpera which he could not answer

WRC
Oct 24, 2022
Motorsport.com gets to grips as a WRC co-driver Prime

Motorsport.com gets to grips as a WRC co-driver

The majority of headlines may focus on the exploits of drivers in the World Rally Championship, but the challenges facing their co-drivers is no less demanding. We got in the passenger seat with Toyota Gazoo Racing to find out just what it takes to succeed

WRC
Oct 6, 2022
How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge Prime

How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge

Kalle Rovanpera’s coronation as the new World Rally Championship king had been a long time coming, only to be postponed by hiccups in Belgium and Greece. But at Rally New Zealand the “Full Send” Finn demonstrated exactly how he's been able to rewrite the rallying record book as he stormed to victory to become the youngest ever world champion

WRC
Oct 3, 2022
How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy Prime

How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy

Thierry Neuville led a maiden Hyundai 1-2-3 in the World Rally Championship, as the previously soft i20 N became a battle-hardened Greek warrior at the Acropolis Rally. But with team orders in play between the winner and Hyundai’s title protagonist Ott Tanak, could the result come back to haunt the team?

WRC
Sep 12, 2022
How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders Prime

How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders

After runaway World Rally Championship leader Kalle Rovanpera made his first major mistake of the season, the chance to take advantage was wide open for the chasing pack. Several of his rivals faltered to grasp the opportunity, but Ott Tanak made no such mistake and demonstrated his class with a third win of the campaign

WRC
Aug 22, 2022
Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life Prime

Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life

Toyota locked out the top four places in the World Rally Championship's recent Safari Rally Kenya in a clear indication of its GR Yaris Rally1 hybrid's pace and durability. Motorsport.com was recently given a tour of the new factory where its cars are designed, tested and built, and it reveals much about the commitment of the Japanese marque to continued WRC success.

WRC
Aug 19, 2022