Thu 03 Aug 2023

Rapid Rovanperä tops Finland shakedown

Kalle Rovanperä edged Toyota Gazoo Racing team-mate Elfyn Evans to win Secto Rally Finland’s shakedown stage on Thursday morning.

Just eight-tenths of a second separated the leading pair of GR Yaris drivers after multiple passes of the 4.48km Rannankylä warm-up test near to host city Jyväskylä. Flying Finn Rovanperä, bidding for his maiden Secto Rally Finland victory, posted the benchmark time on his fourth and final run.

The 22-year-old is hoping for wet weather at this week’s ninth round. If rain does fall, it will make his job as road-opener on Friday that little bit easier.

“Of course, there is more will to try to win it,” Rovanperä said. “Definitely it is not going to be easy from first on the road, but that's our target - to try to push for the win of course but still to have a good rally and score some good points for the season.”

Esapekka Lappi, who also hails from Finland, completed the leading trio in a Hyundai i20 N. He was 0.3sec down on Evans and just a single tenth quicker than M-Sport Ford driver Ott Tänak.

Tänak set the early pace but fell behind the frontrunners after subsequent passes. He reported some issues aboard his Puma, saying: “The car is living its own life already.”

Takamoto Katsuta and Thierry Neuville, who placed placed fifth and sixth respectively, were followed home by Pierre-Louis Loubet and Teemu Suninen. Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala, making a WRC comeback after three years out of the driving seat, was ninth.

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM