Rovanpera not fearful after “fairly a tough” WRC Sweden
Final 12 months’s Sweden winner Rovanpera anticipated a tricky combat opening the snow-covered roads because the best-placed of the full-time WRC drivers from the earlier spherical in Monte Carlo.
Rovanpera was capable of present flashes of velocity to attain six stage wins, greater than one other driver, however might solely end fourth after shedding a combat with Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville. The 22-year-old finally completed 25.1s behind eventual winner M-Sport’s Ott Tanak, who claimed a solitary stage win.
The reigning world champion significantly struggled for velocity on the second go of phases that had grow to be rutted. At occasions Rovanpera was vital of his automotive’s set-up and was additionally fortunate to succeed in the end after a uncommon wild spin on Stage 13.
To additional define the state of affairs, Rovanpera even elected to not push to win the powerstage to make sure he would not have to start out the subsequent month’s go to to Mexico first on the street, dropping to second, three factors behind Tanak within the championship standings.
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Rovanpera wasn’t the one Toyota driver to wrestle as team-mate Elfyn Evans was unable to breed the tempo that put the Welshman within the victory combat final 12 months, whereas Takamoto Katsuta, set a quickest time in Stage 4 earlier than injury sustained from a roll on Stage 5 contributed to his retirement.
Requested if he was involved by the struggles this weekend, Rovanpera informed Autosport: “I am probably not fearful, we had been within the combat fairly properly. Positively, if we did not have this street place we might have been higher.
Kalle Rovanperä, Jonne Halttunen, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1
Photograph by: Toyota Racing
“It has been fairly a tough weekend however in the long run we might be pretty completely satisfied.
“[There is] not an excessive amount of [we can take from finishing fourth]. We will take that we have to enhance. The second go in these situations we lacked the tempo. On the primary go we had been all the time in stage successful tempo however it isn’t sufficient we would have liked to do it within the second go.
“It was clear that everybody could be a lot nearer than final 12 months.”
Heading into the weekend, Toyota had solely been overwhelmed in Sweden as soon as because the marque returned to the WRC in 2017, when Neuville triumphed for Hyundai in 2018.
Reflecting on the outcome, Toyota boss Jari-Matti Latvala added: “This was definitely a rally that we had been hoping to get one thing extra from, provided that it has normally been a powerful occasion for us.
“We suffered a bit on the primary day when the situations weren’t excellent for our street positions and people beginning additional again had been capable of assault and construct a niche. We tried to combat again and speed-wise I feel we noticed some constructive indicators, however issues simply did not fairly click on for us in the long run.”
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