Kalle Rovanpera has decided that now is the time to attack and secure what, if achieved, would become his first win of the season. The Toyota Racing driver made an admirable start to the second stage of the Rally of Portugal, winning and dominating the 26.61km PS9 Vieira do Minho.
The Finn inflicted heavy detachments on everyone. Classification of the stage in hand, it is easy to see how Esapekka Lappi, author of the second time, obtained a chrono of 12″8 slower than the scratch. An incredible time, helped by Kalle’s excellent starting position, but not only .
Rovanpera, this weekend, is giving the impression of having a particular feeling with the slippery bottom of Portugal, so much so that he has no rival. Hyundai Motorsport’s morning started under the best auspices, placing its three drivers in the first 4 positions of the special and of the general classification.
However, the fact remains that neither Dani Sordo, nor Esapekka Lappi and Thierry Neuville have hopes of a comeback against Rovanpera. Indeed, the war is all internal. Dani Sordo is firmly in second place, while the fight for third is raging.
Esapekka Lappi, second in the first pass on the Vieira do Minho, overtook Thierry Neuville again and moved up again to third position. The Belgian is now fourth, 9 tenths off the podium before the longest race of the entire weekend. Both the Finn and Neuville denoted various grip problems that don’t allow them to push as much as they would like.
The only positive note for Neuville is linked to Pierre-Louis Loubet’s start in the morning. The Frenchman from M-Sport was unable to maximize the most favorable starting position compared to Neuville, actually losing several important seconds in the fight for the podium.
As for the WRC2, an excellent start for the TokSport team riders, with Gus Greensmith authoring the best time ahead of his teammates Andreas Mikkelsen and the leader of the category standings Oliver Solberg.
Lastly, Elfyn Evans retired. His Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 was found to be too damaged to be repaired after yesterday’s horrific crash. Both Elfyn and navigator Scott Martin made a routine visit to the hospital to clear up physical problems, before leaving the facility and returning to the Service Park.