The Toyota GR Yaris-driving Rovanperä outpaced Hyundai rival Esapekka Lappi by just one-tenth of a second through the asphalt-based EKO Super Special Stage, run for the first time on this 70th-anniversary edition of Acropolis Rally Greece.
The Finn, who topped the championship standings by 25 points before this rally, is determined to bounce back strongly from the dramatic crash which ruled him out of the previous round.
“After the disappointment in Finland, I want to do a good rally,” Rovanperä said as darkness fell over Athens. “We have to fight for it.”
Thursday morning’s shakedown was unfortunately cancelled due to the severe weather affecting Greece this week.