WRC 2 in Spain:
Rovanperä storms into lead
Skoda’s rising star Kalle Rovanperä mastered wet conditions to build a 22.0sec lead in WRC 2 at the end of Saturday’s leg at RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de España.
He won only the final Salou street stage in his Fabia R5, but was consistently quicker than team-mate Jan Kopecký throughout the day on rain-soaked asphalt roads.
Kopecký, the newly-crowned WRC 2 champion, won two of the day’s seven stages but couldn’t find the pace that has secured him five wins so far this season in the WRC support category and ended the leg in second.
Nil Solans came close to relegating Kopecky to third after a strong showing at his home event. The Spaniard won three stages in his Ford Fiesta to end in third, just 0.3sec behind.
Fourth, and best placed of the Volkswagen Polo R5 drivers, was Petter Solberg. The 2003 world champion struggled in the wet morning conditions but found more pace in the afternoon loop.
Team-mate and leg one leader Eric Camilli failed to finish. The Frenchman slipped to second before a gearshift issue caused him to lose time on SS11. The problem couldn’t be fixed by the roadside and he retired before the next stage.
Camilli’s retirement promoted Kajetan Kajetanowicz to fifth, the Fiesta driver just 5.6sec behind Solberg. The top six was completed by a second Solberg - Petter’s older brother Henning. A clean run enabled him to gain positions as crews ahead hit trouble.
Joining Camilli on the retirement list were Citroën C3 driver Simone Tempestini, who went off in SS13, and Marquito Bulacia, who retired for the second time this weekend, going off the road in SS9. Hyundai development driver Jari Huttunen also failed to make it to the end of the leg after a technical issue in his i20 R5.
Head to WRC+ to watch All Live from RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de España, including every stage broadcast live, breaking service park news and expert studio analysis.
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