GB debrief: part 2

In the second part of our Dayinsure Wales Rally GB review we name the driver who hugely impressed us last weekend and focus on a performance which may prove decisive in the WRC title battle.

Driver of the Rally
It would have been hard to ignore Ott Tänak had the Estonian maintained his supreme form and claimed a fourth consecutive WRC victory to take the championship lead. But he didn’t.

His demise turned the spotlight onto a driver who celebrated his 18th birthday three days before the start and made his WRC debut on the corresponding rally less than 12 months ago.

Kalle Rovanperä simply smashed WRC 2 to claim the best result of his career. He was almost 40sec clear by Friday lunchtime and won 15 of the 23 speed tests in his Skoda Fabia R5. And all this against reigning world champion Pontus Tidemand. Remarkable.

Quote of the Rally
Esapekka Lappi is his own harshest critic. The Finn frequently hits the depths of despair when his pace falls below the level he expects. But he also has a wonderfully dry sense of humour.

His run to fourth fastest in Saturday’s Dyfnant stage was achieved despite a brush with the scenery near the end. “I had a nice lean on the bank - it was in the pace notes,” he said, with a big smile and a wink to the camera.

Save of the Rally
When Sébastien Ogier emerged from Friday morning’s Penmachno test lacking first and second gears in his Ford Fiesta, his chances of a sixth world title appeared slim. He eventually plunged to eighth, almost 30sec off the lead.

What followed might be one of the season’s defining drives. He charged up the leaderboard and delivered a magnificent coup de grâce with a hat-trick of fastest times on Sunday to seal a record-breaking fifth British win.

More importantly, he was back on Thierry Neuville’s coat-tails with two rounds remaining in this thrill-a-minute title scrap.


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