At the end of a test that he will have perfectly mastered, Rovanperä is ahead of his teammate, the Briton Elfyn Evans, relegated to one minute, and the Estonian Ott Tänak (Hyundai). Proof of his domination since the start of the season – only the Monte-Carlo rallies, won by the Frenchman Sébastien Loeb, in semi-retirement, and the Sardinia rally won by Tänak, have escaped him – he signed the best time on more than half of the 24 specials, mainly contested on forest roads. Rovanperä also picked up five bonus points after posting the best time in the last stage, the “Power Stage”, contested in hellish conditions.
“It was a tough weekend but we drove really well. Thank you to the team and to everyone who makes the car really fast,” said the winner, a year after marking the history of his sport in Estonia, becoming at 20 years, 9 months and 17 days, the most young winner in history. “He’s on another planet when the conditions are tough […] If he continues like this, it’s only a matter of time before he wins the championship,” Toyota boss Jari- Matti Latvala. If crowned at the end of the season, he would be by far the youngest WRC world champion in history.
In the lead for most of the day on Friday, Evans, sometimes too cautious under the capricious Estonian sky, gradually saw his teammate return in the afternoon. Until this last special of the day when, badly engaged on a soggy track and in pouring rain, the Welshman let the lead of the race slip away in favor of his rival. From then on, the Finn showered any hint of resistance, widening the gap without taking unnecessary risks. Expected as one of the favourites, Tänak finished on the podium, but far behind the Toyotas. On Friday, the 2019 world champion had demoted from second to third place after receiving a penalty for not respecting a point of the regulations. He never again managed to answer the leading men. The driver was also fined 4,000 euros on Sunday evening, including 3,000 suspended, “for not wearing the cap provided by the championship”, on the podium and at a press conference.
With 175 points in 7 innings, Rovanperä now has 83 points ahead of Belgian Thierry Neuville, 4th Sunday, and 96 over Evans, again third at the expense of Tänak. Neuville, a five-time world rally runner-up, had a difficult weekend, acknowledging that he lacked confidence behind the wheel of his Hyundai. For many drivers, the main thing on Sunday was to keep their rank, before the Power Stage run on totally wet and muddy roads. The championship continues with a new round on the same type of terrain, but on the other side of the Baltic, in Finland, from August 4 to 7.