Kalle Rovanperä scored his second WRC 2 Pro victory of the season in Portugal on Sunday afternoon to move to the top of the championship.
The teenage Finn headed a 1-2 for Skoda Motorsport’s new Fabia Evo car with a 67.7sec success at Vodafone Rally de Portugal, taking a three-point lead in the standings at the season midpoint.
After a puncture cost Rovanperä his early lead on Friday afternoon, he regained top spot on Saturday morning. He eased through Sunday’s short final leg to head Czech team-mate Jan Kopecký and demote Gus Greensmith from the championship lead. He finished sixth overall.
Mads Østberg was a distant third in a Citroën C3 to climb to second in the title battle. Lukasz Pieniazek finished fourth in a Ford Fiesta.
Pierre-Louis Loubet scored a commanding win in WRC 2, his first in the WRC’s support category.
The Corsican led after Friday’s opening stage in his Skoda Fabia but soon lost his advantage.
He moved back to the front on Saturday afternoon and, with almost two minutes in hand, could afford to ease through Sunday’s five short speed tests to celebrate a 1min 42.1sec success. He finished ninth overall.
Reigning Junior WRC champion Emil Bergkvist steered his Ford Fiesta to second, almost half a minute clear of veteran Henning Solberg’s Skoda Fabia.
The big battle of the final leg was for fourth. Eerik Pietarinen fended off a charging Nikolay Gryazin to hold on by just 0.8sec after the Russian came within an ace of overturning a 9.0sec deficit in the final Wolf Power Stage at Fafe.
Mexico’s Benito Guerra rounded off the top six. That was sufficient to extend his championship lead over Japan’s Takamoto Katsuta, who was quickest on four of Sunday’s five stages after restarting following a crash on Saturday.
Head to WRC+ to watch All Live from Vodafone Rally de Portugal, including every stage broadcast live, breaking service park news and expert studio analysis.
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