Kalle Rovanperä extended his lead at the head of the WRC 2 Pro standings with a third consecutive category victory at Rally Italia Sardegna on Sunday afternoon.
The Finn measured his pace through the final four hot and dusty speed tests in the north of the Mediterranean island to head Skoda Fabia team-mate Jan Kopecký by 24.6sec.
Victory extended his points lead over Mads Østberg to 13 as the championship pauses for a mid-season break. Østberg finished third, nearly nine minutes back, after suspension damage halted his victory charge in Friday’s opening leg.
“This was one of the hardest events I have driven in and the hardest I have won,” said Rovanperä. “There were some really good things that we learned about our driving, pace notes and also the car.”
For the second consecutive day Østberg won all the speed tests in his Citroën C3. Gus Greensmith finished fourth in a Ford Fiesta, despite smashing his front right wheel in a compression.
Pierre-Louis Loubet scored a second consecutive WRC 2 win in a Fabia after a dramatic final leg.
His bid appeared over last night when a puncture relegated him from the lead he held since Friday morning and promoted Takamoto Katsuta to first.
The Japanese youngster’s hopes were dashed after today’s opening stage when engine oil leaked onto his Ford Fiesta’s exhaust and caused a fire. Although the blaze was extinguished, Katsuta could not continue.
Loubet was back in front but the Frenchman had a far from easy run-in to secure a 41.7sec victory. “It was a very difficult morning because we had a problem with the differentials and after hairpin bends I only had two-wheel drive. It was a lot of stress,” he said.
Kajetan Kajetanowicz finished second, 12.9sec ahead of Simone Tempestini, with Marquito Bulacia in fourth.
Ole Christian Veiby won three speed tests today to claim fifth after a troubled weekend in his Volkswagen Polo. Guillaume de Mevius was sixth after Nil Solans retired.
WRC 2 Pro
|1.||Kalle ROVANPERA||Skoda Fabia R5||03:40:51.8|
|2.||Jan KOPECKY||Skoda Fabia R5||+24.6s|
|3.||Mads ØSTBERG||Citroën C3 R5||+8:58.6|
|4.||Gus GREENSMITH||Ford Fiesta R5||+1:17:11.0|
|1.||Pierre-Louis LOUBET||Skoda Fabia R5||03:43:40.2|
|2.||Kajetan KAJETANOWICZ||Skoda Fabia R5||+41.7s|
|3.||Simone TEMPESTINI||Hyundai i20 R5||+54.6|
|4.||Marco BULACIA||Skoda Fabia R5||+1:13.5|
|5.||Ole Christian VEIBY||Volkswagen Polo GTI R5||+12:21.7|