Rally Portugal: Calle Rovanpera is the youngest player to ever win the Portuguese Championship

Rovanpera, second-placed less than compatriot Marco Allen, spent 3:44.19.2 hours to complete 21 stages of this fourth round of the World Cup, leaving second-placed British rider Elvin Evans (Toyota Yaris) 15.2 seconds behind. Spaniard Dani Sordo (Hyundai i20) came third with a time of 2.17.3 minutes after beating Japan’s Takamoto Katsuta (Toyota Yaris) on the power podium.

With these results, Rovanpera, who has already won three of the four races held this season (he lost only Frenchman Sebastien Loeb in a Ford Puma in the Monte Carlo Rally), consolidated his lead in the championship, now winning 106 races. Points, 46 more than the runner-up, a Belgian Thierry Nouvel (Hyundai i20).

Rovenperä confirms tradition since moving north

The young driver’s victory in the 55th Rally of Portugal confirmed this trend since the race returned to the north of the country without a “Pesar” driver.

Rovanpera, who started this third and final day of the fourth stage of the World Rally Championship by 5.7 seconds over Britain’s Elvin Evans, his Toyota teammate, with another Yaris, and the race winner in 2021, won three of the five specials today, including ” Strength stage” in the second pass through Favi, adding the maximum points for the championship.

The Finn finished his Portuguese career with a time of 3:44.19.2 hours after 21 stages, leaving runner-up Evans, with a time of 15.2 seconds, and Spaniard Dani Sordo (Hyundai i20) finished third, at 2.17, 3 minutes after his victory over Japan’s Takamoto Katsuta ( Toyota Yaris) is in its last phase of power.

“Starting the race to open the road and we were still fighting for victory was a good thing. The car was perfect, everyone can be happy,” said the Finn, after crossing the finish line in Fafe.

Cali, the son of former rally driver Harry Rovanpera, became the youngest driver ever to win a Rally Portugal, at the age of 21 (he ousted compatriot Marco Allen, who won in 1975 the 24-year-old Portuguese, driving a Lancia). ).

It also underscored the trend that has occurred since racing returned to the north of the country in 2016, where no rider can replicate his victory.

That year, Irishman Chris Meek (Citroën C3) won. The following year, it was the Frenchman Sebastien Ogier (Ford Focus) who actually won in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014, adding the only victory in this version of the race (its predecessors took place in the Algarve).

Belgium’s Thierry Nouvel (Hyundai i20) won in 2018, followed by Estonian Ott Tanak (Toyota Yaris), the year he was world champion.

In 2020, there was no rally due to restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, with Britain’s Elvin Evans (Toyota Yaris) winning in 2021.

Thus, this was the third victory in a row for Toyota, which already has seven victories in the history of Portuguese racing.

Rovanpera achieved his best result in Portugal with sixth place in 2019, with the WRC2 Skoda Fábia, because in 2021, already with the Toyota Yaris of the main class, he had problems in the first stage, and he returned on Saturday in a ‘superrally’. Only 22nd place.

This is the Finn’s fifth career victory, and third in a row this year, as only Frenchman Sebastien Loeb (Ford Puma) lost in the championship opening, Monte Carlo Rally, equaling this weekend’s contender. , Elvin Evans.

The last time a rider won three titles in a row was in 2016, with Sebastien Ogier victories in Corsica, Catalonia and Wales. An achievement that only happened 13 times in the history of the tournament.

Rovanpera dominated the Portuguese race, although starting on the first day of the track opening, in theory an unfavorable position on the dirt floors, as it implied less drag.

However, he has won eight of the 21 specials, with Evans being the fastest in six.

Neuville (two), Estonian Ott Tanäk (two), in a Hyundai i20, French Sébastien Loeb (one) and Sébastien Ogier (one) and Irishman Josh McErlean, who ended up being the fastest in the super special at Foz, on Saturday, were the remaining winners In Hyundai i20 from WRC2.

The last day of racing was marked by Finn Teemu Suninen (Hyundai i20) crashing at the last special show, at Fafe.

Even then, the WRC2 leader failed to brake to turn left and went straight ahead, in an area where there was a group of people, outside the show area.

However, trees ended up helping to stop the Finn’s car, forcing him to interrupt the clip for a few minutes, avoiding injuries to both the pilot and navigator and people who were improperly positioned there, outside any viewing area designated by the organization.

Once the race resumed, the battle for third place revived the final moments of the race, with Spaniard Dani Sordo, familiar with the Fafe division, winning 4.3 seconds from Japan’s Takamoto Katsuta (Toyota Yaris), who was relegated to fourth. In just 2.1 seconds.

“Congratulations to Danny. Sorry for the team. I tried, but it didn’t come. I’m not good enough. I have to get better,” the Japanese pilot said, crying.

Thus, Sordo took the podium for the sixth time in the Rally de Portugal, after being runner-up in 2021.

Thierry Nouvel finished the race in fifth place, followed by Tank.

After these results, Rovanpera consolidated his lead in the drivers’ championship. The Finn now has 106 points against 60 for Nouvel and Katsota 38.

In the Builders World Cup, Toyota leads with 175 points, against 116 for Hyundai and 94 for Ford.

At WRC2, Sonnen’s miscarriage in the special final led to the victory of Frenchman Johan Rosell (Citroen C3), who took the lead in the championship.

The best Portuguese, Armindo Araújo (Skoda Fábia), was 14th overall, finishing fifth in WRC2, soon to be followed by Ricardo Teodósio (Hyundai i20).

The next round will be the Sardinia Rally, in Italy, from June 2-5.

Armendo Araujo ends up being the best Portuguese

Armendo Araujo (Skoda Fabia) finished the 55th Rally Portugal as the best Portuguese rider, defeating Ricardo Teodosio of the Algarve (Hyundai i20) by 22.5 seconds.

In this particular competition for Best National Representative position, though the Portuguese Rally Championship (CPR) classification was closed on Friday, with Teodosio’s victory, Araujo overtook her after taking the helm at the end of Saturday.

This morning the rider from Santo Tirso fared better than Teodosio in three of the five stages, despite winning only one stage. Jose Pedro Fontes, in the Citroën C3, won the other two.

The Algarve rider was faster than the Portuguese in two of the five stages on Sunday.

Thus, Araujo finished 14th overall, 21.36.8 minutes behind the winner, with Teodosio approaching from behind, 22.5 seconds away.

Armindo Araújo also finished fifth in the World Rally Championship 2, with Ricardo Teodosio in sixth.

(article updated at 15:17)

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