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WRC Rally Estonia

Rovanpera WRC Estonia domination ‘Loeb like’, says Latvala

Kalle Rovanpera’s Rally Estonia domination was like Sebastien Loeb in his prime, according to Toyota World Rally Championship boss Jari-Matti Latvala.

Rovanpera produced arguably the most crushing WRC victory of his career to date to defeat Hyundai's Thierry Neuville by 46.5s on Estonia's fast gravel roads.

The reigning world rally champion emerged in the rally lead on Friday despite opening the road. He then went unbeaten across Saturday and Sunday, racking up 13 consecutive stage wins mirroring similar displays by nine-time world champion Loeb.

Loeb achieved a similar feat in Germany in 2008, winning 13 stages in a row three years after claiming all 12 stages of a WRC event, when he took victory in Corsica in 2005.

Latvala was unable to explain how Rovanpera and co-driver Jonne Halttunen were able to deliver such speed in Estonia.

"The way I see it was that Kalle and Jonne were in a flow zone," said Latvala. "To get in that zone is something that comes naturally when you are doing things very well. It just happens.

"Finding that zone, that is the question mark. I can't answer that. It is an amazing performance it is similar domination of an event like Sebastien Loeb did in Corsica in 2005."

Podium: Winners Kalle Rovanperä, Jonne Halttunen, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1, second place Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1, third place Esapekka Lappi, Janne Ferm, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Podium: Winners Kalle Rovanperä, Jonne Halttunen, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1, second place Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1, third place Esapekka Lappi, Janne Ferm, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

When asked to explain his performance, Rovanpera said it was "really simple" and put it down to confidence behind the wheel of his GR Yaris.

"It was a really good one [rally]," Rovanpera told Motorsport.com.

"It is my favourite event on the calendar and I was really enjoying it. I was really enjoying the car and the stages and I think we could see that in the stage times.

"I think it is really simple. If the car works how you want, then you can do what you want with it.

"When you know the stages quite well it is all about confidence. I didn't need to push over the limit in places and I drove my speed and it is enough.

"I think Loeb has done something similar [winning 13 stages in a row], more or the same, I don't care, it is still a good chunk of stage wins."

Rovanpera's second win of the season has moved the Finn into a 55-point lead at the top of the championship standings ahead of Rally Finland in 10 days' time.

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