SWEDEN: Toyota’s Kalle Rovanpera dominated the Umea Sprint super special stage, held in front of a large crowd at the Rally Sweden, grabbing an early lead.
The young Finnish driver completed the test 1.6 seconds faster than his nearest rival, M-Sport’s Ott Tanak.
Despite facing a few incredibly slippery sections and traction being a luxury, Rovanpera proved to be the driver to beat, displaying his impressive driving skills.
Tanak was part of the group of drivers who had run-ins with the solid snowbanks, but the Estonian managed to escape with minor damages to the rear end of his Ford Puma.
Toyota’s Elfyn Evans was third fastest, 3.1 seconds behind Rovanpera. Still, the Welshman wasn’t too pleased with his performance as he suffered some damage to the rear bumper of his GR Yaris after hitting a snowbank.
Evans felt that the snowbanks were too hard because as soon as the car touched them, it damaged its bodywork immediately.
Esapekka Lappi was the top Hyundai driver. However, the Finn was lucky to reach the finish line after a mediocre run.
Lappi went straight at a right-hander after he locked the wheels of his Hyundai i20 N but somehow bounced off the snowbank, losing only 3.9 seconds to Rovanpera.
Lappi said that the car is quite tricky under braking. “He explained that he couldn’t restart the car under braking, and we went straight towards the bank,” said Lappi.
In the WRC2 category, Jari Huttunen came in first, edging out Ole Christian Veiby by 0.9 seconds, with Oliver Solberg in third, just a tenth of a second behind.
The Rally Sweden continues on Friday, with crews tackling seven special stages.
With Rovanpera’s impressive performance on the super special stage, he will be one to watch as the rally progresses.
The young Finnish driver has set the bar high and will be eager to maintain his lead.
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