At Rally Croatia, the fratricidal struggle in the Toyota house ignites. Both Kalle Rovanpera and Sébastien Ogier are in the less noble parts of the Top 10, but with the penalty imposed on Ogier, which arrived between tonight and this morning, the reigning world champion now has one more hope of recovering a few points from a World Championship perspective .
Rovanpera, after winning the opening special of the second stage, also repeated himself in SS10, the Vinski Vrh – Duga Resa 1 of 8.78 kilometres, ahead of his teammate and rival for seventh place.
Kalle now has a delay of 5″1 from Ogier, therefore a small gap, but the next tests will not guarantee important recoveries due to the low mileage. The Finn will have to continue aiming for the stage win and then get to the first session in the afternoon, the one longer, launching the decisive attack.
Any exchange of positions between the two would mean nothing for Toyota, as both Ogier and Rovanpera are delegated to bring points for the Constructors’ Championship. This means that, potentially, the team may not care who of the two will be ahead at the end of the last stage.
But the choice to make is not that simple, because the Drivers’ Championship is also at stake. Rovanpera will do the whole season, while Ogier should limit himself to doing a few spot races (he has already missed the Swedish Rally despite leading the World Championship), but the team will also have to take into account the starting position that Rovanpera will have at Rally Portugal if the should Ogier also be away.
In the fight for third place, however, Ott Tanak is securing the lowest step of the podium. The times of the Estonian from M-Sport are very competitive, while Lappi – although in the SS10 he chose to use 3 Soft tires and only one Hard to have better grip – finds himself in difficulty with the grip of his i20 N Rally1 .
The lack of confidence made him lose second after second to his rival, who is now 20″3 ahead of the Finn. The fight for fifth place continues between Pierre-Louis Loubet and Takamoto Katsuta. The Frenchman from M-Sport managed to do better than Toyota’s Japanese, increasing his margin to 6″6.
Meanwhile Thierry Neuville continues to extend his lead over his only pursuer and rival for the win, Elfyn Evans. In this race he put another 3 tenths between himself and the Welshman, bringing his advantage to 10″8 with 2 races left at the end of the morning lap.
WRC – Rally Croatia 2023 – Standings after SS10
Pos. Pilota/navigatore Vettura Tempo/distacco Penalità 1 Neuville/Wydaeghe Hyundai i20 N Rally1 1h33’21”2 2 Evans/Martin Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 +10″8 3 Tanak/Jarveoja Ford Puma Rally1 +26″9 4 Lappi/Ferm Hyundai i20 N Rally1 +47″2 5 Loubet/Gilsoul Ford Puma Rally1 +2’02″5 6 Katsuta/Johnston Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 +2’09″1 7 Ogier/Landais Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 +2’30″3 +1′ 10″ 8 Rovanpera/Halttunen Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 +2’35″4 9 Rossel/Arnaud Citroen C3 Rally2 +4’21″0 10 Gryazin/Aleksandrov Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 +4’51″0