TOKYO, Jul 18, 2022 - (JCN Newswire) - Kalle Rovanpera has continued his remarkable 2022 season in the FIA World Rally Championship with his fifth victory from the last six events, leading a one-two finish at Rally Estonia for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team after a high-speed battle with team-mate Elfyn Evans.
After a series of rougher gravel events, the smooth and fast stages of Estonia provided a test for the outright performance of the new generation of Rally1 cars, one the GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID passed with flying colours by dominating the weekend. It recorded the fastest time in all 22 full-length stages, beaten only narrowly in the two short super special stages held on Thursday and Saturday evenings.
The weather ensured a challenging weekend from start to finish with short and sharp rain showers making conditions extremely changeable and unpredictable for the drivers.
Evans excelled in a mostly dry start to Friday, winning all four stages during the morning to lead Rovanpera, who did well sweeping the loose gravel stages as championship leader and then capitalised on wet weather in the afternoon to move ahead. He and co-driver Jonne Halttunen were then dominant through Saturday, winning seven stages in a row and continued that form into Sunday morning.
The worst of the weather however was saved for the final two stages. Both Rovanpera and Evans were more than half a minute slower than some competitors as conditions worsened during SS23 but were able to maintain their overall positions. They then made the most of improving conditions as the sun came out for their runs at the deciding Power Stage, Rovanpera setting the best time by a huge 22.5 seconds over Evans to claim maximum points for himself and co-driver Jonne Halttunen, who increase their championship lead to 83 points after seven of 13 rounds.
Evans and his co-driver Scott Martin have climbed to third in the standings after a second straight second-place finish and their third of the season.
With the Power Stage result, TGR also scored maximum points towards the manufacturers' championship this weekend and now lead by 87 points.
Fighting back after losing time when a tyre came off its rim on a landing on Saturday, Esapekka Lappi won two stages on Sunday and gained sixth place overall on the final stage, where he set the fourth-fastest time despite experiencing considerably worse conditions than his team-mates.
Takamoto Katsuta continued his unbroken scoring record so far in 2022 in his TGR WRT Next Generation entry by finishing fifth overall, improving his confidence and performance over the event despite the difficult conditions.
For more information, visit https://toyotagazooracing.com/wrc/release/2022/rd07-day4/.
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