Kalle Rovanpera closes the first day of competition at Rally Estonia as a leader. The Toyota driver also hit the scratch on PS9, the 17.85 kilometer Kambja 2.
This allowed him to expand his advantage over his only rival, Craig Breen, who remained the exponent able to annoy the young Toyota star after Ott Tanak’s premature retirement from the home race after having punctured 3 tires in 2. evidence and run out of stock.
Breen, who won the PS8, was rejected with losses by Rovanpera. Very good at exploiting a test he loved very much last year too. At the end of the day, Rovanpera has an 8 “5 advantage over the Northern Irish Hyundai. A margin that is all in all small and certainly bridgeable, but Breen will have to change pace to do so.
Thierry Neuville continued in his race, pursuing the goal of overtaking Sébastien Ogier and to stretch on him to have the advantage of position tomorrow, but also to legitimize a better pace that was hidden until PS8 for the puncture. suffered in the morning lap that made him lose at least ten seconds.
Ogier could not resist the return of the Belgian, but it should be emphasized how he managed to limit the damage as a true champion by having to open all the tests today and “clean” the trajectories of the riders who entered the tests later.
If Ogier once again proved to be one of the best drivers in history, Elfyn Evans instead struggled well beyond expectations. In most of today’s stages he was slower than Ogier despite having a position advantage in the stages. The Welshman has gone through one of the most complicated days since defending the Toyota colors and tomorrow will likely be another difficult day for him.
M-Sport, after the good result in Africa, faced a complex day. Gus Greensmith was forced to retire due to a water pump failure. Same goes for Teemu Suninen, who, however, managed to stay in the race and complete the day in sixth place, ahead of a cautious Pierre-Louis Loubet. Unfortunate Takamoto Katsuta, forced to retire due to a back injury suffered by his navigator Daniel Barritt following a violent landing from one of the many jumps that the pilots have faced in these special stages.
As for the WRC2 Andreas Mikkelsen ends the day in the lead after having inherited the top from Mads Ostberg. The all-Norwegian duel was decided – for now – by a beaded tire that slowed Ostberg in the afternoon. Mads, in the last special stage, was also overtaken in the standings by Nikolay Gryazin after having suffered a 10 “penalty for being sprinted early, before the start of the traffic light on PS9. To report the double retirement of Jari Huttunen and Oliver Solberg , which make the day more bitter for Hyundai Motorsport.
Rally Estonia – Ranking after PS9
|Pos.||Pilot / navigator||Car||Time / posting||Penalty|
|1||Rovanpera / Halttunen||Toyota Yaris WRC||1.06’54 “4|
|2||Breen / Nagle||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||+8 “5|
|3||Neuville / Wydaeghe||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||+53 “4|
|4||Ogier / Ingrassia||Toyota Yaris WRC||+59 “4|
|5||Evans / Martin||Toyota Yaris WRC||+ 1’15 “1|
|6||Suninen / Markkula||Ford Fiesta WRC||+ 3’14 “9|
|7||Loubet / Haut-Labourdette||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||+ 3’21 “5|
|8||Mikkelsen / Floene||Skoda Fabia R5 Evo||+ 4’04 “9|
|9||Ostberg / Eriksen||Citroen C3 R5||+ 4’41 “4|
|10||Gryazin / Aleksandrov||Volkswagen Polo GTI R5||+ 4’43 “2||+10 “0|