Rovanpera had big fight with himself not to push for Central European WRC win


Toyota driver Rovanpera will secure a second World Rally Championship title this weekend if he outscores team-mate Evans, which seems increasingly likely after the latter crashed out on stage 11.

Evans will rejoin the rally on Sunday but will realistically only be able to claim a maximum of five points from the Power Stage, while Rovanpera heads into the final four stages sitting second overall, 26.2s adrift of rally leader Thierry Neuville.

Once Rovanpera heard the news of Evans’ crash, he backed off to surrender his rally lead to Neuville.

The 23-year-old elected to continue his careful approach until the final stage of the day, arguably the toughest of the rally, when he elected to push and win the test.

“Of course it has been a big challenge today, I can’t say much more,” said Rovanpera.

“There was a big fight in the car between myself not to fight for the win and just trying to keep the car on the road, which was a big challenge today but the plan worked well.

“I just wanted to end the day with a bit better feeling so tomorrow if we have dry weather, I can hopefully enjoy the driving again a bit more.

Kalle Rovanperä, Jonne Halttunen, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Kalle Rovanperä, Jonne Halttunen, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

“It [stage 14] was something crazy. I haven’t seen anything like this before and I didn’t think many drivers have.

“There were a few corners on tarmac and everything else on mud and gravel, so the grip was unbelievably low.”

Looking ahead to tomorrow, Rovanpera is refusing to think about winning a second world title that would see him become only the sixth driver in WRC history to win back-to-back championships.

“Of course the feeling is good but you never want to think about those things too early, we have just got to trying focus on tomorrow,” he added.

“There is not so much excitement [yet], you are just waiting for it to be over so we are just counting down the stages.”

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