Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Kalle Rovanpera made history on Sunday as at the age of 20, the Finn overtook his team boss Jari Matti Latvala as the FIA World Rally Championship’s youngest ever event winner coming home ahead of Hyundai Motorsports Craig Breen. Speaking following the action, Rovanpera commented saying:

“It feels really good to take the win. We’ve been aiming for this, and I have to say a big thanks to the team. Even though this year has been difficult for me, they have been supporting me so well and the feeling inside the car and the team has been really good. It’s really nice to have this record as the youngest winner also. Jari-Matti told me that he wanted it to be me who would take it, so that means something to me; it’s really nice. Today I had a surprisingly good feeling, I didn’t feel so much pressure and I could drive normally, still with good pace. For sure, this result should help a lot now: When you can get a win it helps to release a bit of the feeling and the pressure.”

Craig Breen equaled his best WRC result which ironically came here last season and speaking following the action, the Irishman commented saying:

I am quite happy with how the weekend has gone, and I am satisfied with our performance. We have carried good speed throughout the stages. OK, it’s not been enough to match Kalle, but we were able to consolidate our second place and brought it home to the end. I’ve enjoyed myself immensely from start to finish. All I need is a bit more time to go that extra one or two percent that I know we have within us.

Thierry Neuville made it a great weekend for the Hyundai team as he completed the podium for the team giving them two cars on the podium and speaking following the action the Belgian commented saying;

It has been a long weekend with 24 challenging stages – and a tough event for us. Our main target coming here was to keep our closest rivals, Sébastien and Elfyn, behind and we were able to achieve that. Obviously, it has not been enough to catch back the points gap, but we have edged a bit closer. From a team perspective, getting two cars on the podium is a positive to take away, and I can now look ahead to Ypres Rally Belgium, my home rally.

Sebastien Ogier came home in fourth place and speaking following the action, the Toyota Gazoo Racing team driver commented saying:

“Today it was mostly full focus for the Power Stage, but in the end the conditions were really horrible in that stage. With huge ruts, it was not a stage to drive hard, it was just about surviving and trying to finish, but we still tried to get some extra points, which at least we managed. Overall this weekend has been a positive step for the championship. Coming here first on the road we knew it would be difficult. We had a very strong Friday, then didn’t manage to turn that into a better result, but still, the most important thing is the points we took. I’m really happy for Kalle and Jonne taking their first win, so congratulations to them and the whole team.”

Elfyn Evans ended the weekend in fifth place and speaking following the action he commented saying:

“It’s been a difficult weekend overall for us. Today we tried to focus on the Power Stage and did what we could there, but unfortunately it wasn’t really the performance we wanted. It’s not been what we hoped or expected this weekend. I didn’t really gel with it from the start and I never found my rhythm. Obviously that’s something we have to put right for the next events. But I’m very happy to see Kalle and Jonne get the win here, it’s very well deserved.”

End of day four(Sunday):
1 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2h51m29.1s
2 Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +59.9s
3 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m12.4s
4 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m24.0s
5 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2m07.1s
6 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) +7m07.3s
7 Pierre-Louis Loubet/Florian Haut-Labourdette (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +8m48.3s
8 Alexey Lukyanuk/Yaroslav Fedorov (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +10m16.1s
9 Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +10m29.9s
10 Mads Østberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroën C3 Rally2) +10m46.6s

Teemu Suninen came home in sixth place for the M-Sport Ford WRC Team and speaking following the action he said:

“The first stage this morning was quite tricky with the grip level changing a lot. Sometimes it felt like you were on Tarmac because the grip was so high, but sometimes it was super-slippery so I was glad to finish. I had a moment on SS22 when the car just jumped from the ruts to the inside but nothing serious happened. Then on the last stage, I was struggling on the ruts and somehow I got to the inside of the ruts on a right-hand corner and had to go back. But we were able to finish after a difficult weekend.”

M Sport Ford WRC Team Principal Richard Millener commented saying:

It’s fair to say this wasn’t the result or performance we were hoping for after Safari Rally Kenya, but we leave Estonia with a top-six finish, while our four drivers all gained important experience and showed their obvious potential.

“Before the start we would have been happy to have one car in the top six but we all know it could have been better. It was frustrating for Gus and Teemu that engine-related issues meant they weren’t part of the fight. Despite the setbacks, they both gave everything and got lots of important kilometres under their belts, which is what we always ask of them.

“Stepping back into Rally2 from a World Rally Car is never easy but Adrien did a good job. Although he missed out on a podium, he showed the speed we know he’s capable of. We’re also delighted for Tom, who now needs to build on this result going forward

Hyundai Motorsports Team Principal Andrea Adamo commented the team’s weekend saying:

“It starts to be a bit boring to keep saying the same thing, but at least this time we have two cars on the podium and good Power Stage points. We don’t lose anything more in the manufacturers’ championship, but we have to keep going ahead like this, improving in all areas. My thanks to Craig and Paul for a fantastic second place. Due to an electrical problem this morning, Thierry has not been in the position to make any further progress, but he has shown once again what kind of a fighter he is. Ott, too, has demonstrated his amazing speed, but that only makes his punctures on Friday even more regrettable. We look ahead to Ypres Rally Belgium and vow to keep up our hard work

Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)

“It’s an amazing day today, and a record-breaking win in more ways than one. Every victory is special and enjoyable, but for me to see Kalle’s first victory today has a big meaning. I’m so happy to see him become the youngest ever to win a WRC rally and take the record from me: It keeps up the Finnish tradition, after Henri Toivonen held it before me. He did such a fantastic job this weekend. To take our fifth win in a row – a record for Toyota – is also unbelievable. It’s something unique and special that we’ve done in these last events. There is still a long way to go in both championships but I’m so proud of the team and the drivers.”

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