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WRC – Victory In Greece Cements Rovanperä’s Title Ambitions On Sunday

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Finnish prodigy edges nearer to his second WRC title by successful the legendary Acropolis Rally.

Kalle Rovanperä scored his third victory of the season in Greece on Sunday afternoon to tighten his grip on this yr’s FIA World Rally Championship.

The 22-year-old had seemed set to convey up the rear of the rostrum at this tenth spherical however discovered himself topping the standings by greater than two minutes after Saturday’s penultimate leg when former leaders Thierry Neuville and Sébastien Ogier retired.

Each have been sidelined by central Greece’s unforgiving rocky mountain roads, with Neuville’s Hyundai i20 N sustaining entrance suspension harm earlier than Ogier, driving a Toyota GR Yaris much like that of Rovanperä’s, stopped after SS12 with rear suspension failure after hitting a rock.

Rovanperä may afford to calm down by means of Sunday’s three-stage finale and sealed a near-perfect weekend with the utmost 5 bonus factors for successful the Wolf Energy Stage. He headed team-mate Elfyn Evans, his closest championship challenger, by 1min 31.7sec on the end and prolonged his factors over the Welshman to 33 with three rounds remaining.

“After all, it’s an enormous reduction,” stated Rovanperä, who additionally helped develop Toyota’s producers’ championship result in 91 factors over Hyundai. “After a tough rally in Finland, we wanted to come back again now, though we by no means left. A robust efficiency, beginning first and ending first is kind of good. We had a intelligent drive and nonetheless an excellent push right here [in the Wolf Power Stage].”

Evans misplaced a couple of minute on Saturday on account of his Toyota overheating however fought again to complete runner-up after battling with Hyundai’s Dani Sordo till the final stage.

Sordo had held the higher hand in a single day however a sluggish run by means of Tarzan price him the place. The Spaniard, contesting his first rally since Kenya in June, misplaced out by simply 4.2sec after 4 days of competitors.

Ott Tänak incurred 3min 40sec in time penalties when a water pump failure meant he was late to depart Friday’s tyre becoming zone. However the M-Sport Ford Puma driver loved a comparatively clear run from then onwards and climbed to a powerful fourth, albeit greater than 4 minutes again from the lead.

Esapekka Lappi was fifth in a Hyundai forward of sixth-placed Takamoto Katsuta whereas Andreas Mikkelsen handed Gus Greensmith within the penultimate stage to win the WRC2 class.

In doing so, the Norwegian moved 16 factors away from championship rival Yohan Rossel, who completed ninth general, whereas Ogier accomplished the leaderboard.

Additional down the sector, William Creighton was topped because the 2023 FIA Junior WRC champion* alongside co-driver Liam Regan. Creighton, 25, turns into the primary Irish driver to win the collection for the reason that late Craig Breen achieved the feat in 2011.

The championship heads to South America later this month for spherical 11. Rally Chile Bio Bío returns to the WRC calendar from September 28 – October 1. The gravel highway encounter relies in Concepción.

*Topic to affirmation of the outcomes by the FIA

Total classification:
1. Okay Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota GR Yaris 3h 0m 16.7s
2. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris +1m 31.7s
3. D Sordo / C Carrera ESP Hyundai i20 N +1m 35.9s
4. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Ford Puma +4m 28.4s
5. E Lappi / J Ferm FIN Hyundai i20 N +6m 22.3s
6. T Katsuta / A Johnston JPN Toyota GR Yaris +7m 20.9s

Drivers’ championship standings (after spherical 10 of 13):
1. Okay Rovanperä 200pts
2. E Evans 167pts
3. T Neuville 134pts

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