WRC 2 in Britain:
Rovanperä storms ahead
Kalle Rovanperä left his WRC 2 rivals trailing as he ended the first full day of action at Dayinsure Wales Rally GB with a 58.6sec lead over Skoda Motorsport team-mate Pontus Tidemand.
The Fabia R5 driver celebrated his 18th birthday on Monday and gave himself the perfect present as he stormed to eight stage wins during the opening leg’s nine gravel speed tests.
“I wasn't completely flat out as I was trying to avoid hitting any of the stones on the stages. On the afternoon loop I could have gone much faster,” the Finn admitted ominously.
Tidemand was fastest through the first run at the Slate Mountain stage on Friday morning, but he had no answer to Rovanperä’s blistering pace in North Wales.
Instead, he focused on keeping Gus Greensmith behind and scoring as many points as possible to try and catch Jan Kopecký – absent in Wales – in the WRC 2 title race.
British hope Greensmith ended the day third in his Ford Fiesta R5 after missing the chance to leap ahead of Tidemand in the final stage – Penmachno 2 – after losing 5.7sec to the Swede in the slippery conditions.
Citroën Racing’s Stéphane Lefebvre was fourth after he secured the upper hand in his day-long battle with compatriot Pierre-Louis Loubet and Hyundai development driver Jari Huttunen.
Huttunen was fourth heading into the final 16.95km test but struggled with grip in the wet, muddy, conditions and dropped a place, 4.9sec behind Lefebvre. Loubet was 53.8sec further back.
In his first start in a Citroën C3 R5, Ole Christian Veiby ended the day 3m 48.7sec off the pace after a wheel change on SS4 - the first run of Penmachno - cost him 1m 40.8sec.
Chris Ingram was unable to build on his debut podium at Rally Turkey after failing to bring his Fabia R5 to the finish of the leg.
Joining him on the sidelines were Nil Solans and Eric Camilli. The Fiesta drivers ran out of spares after stopping to replace damaged wheels during the morning.
Head to WRC+ to watch All Live from Dayinsure Wales Rally GB, including every stage broadcast live, breaking service park news and expert studio analysis.
Friday in Britain: Dominant Tänak in charge
Misfire halts 2017 winner Evans
SS4-6: Tänak widens GB lead
Broken gearbox delays Ogier
SS2/3: Tänak storms clear
Estonian wins two on the bounce