Kalle Rovanpera scored yet another FIA WRC win in Rally Estonia from Toyota teammate Elfyn Evans, with Ott Tanak in third.


Kalle Rovanpera snatched a surprise Rally Estonia lead after a dramatic finale to Friday’s opening leg which derailed daylong pacesetter Elfyn Evans. Welshman Evans was imperious initially, winning the first five dry road speed tests near Tartu to head his Toyota GR Yaris team-mate by almost 20sec.

Rovanpera almost halved the deficit in the next two as intermittent showers provided a different challenge, ahead of the closing 6.70km Vastsemõisa special stage. In heavy rain, road opener Rovanpera enjoyed the best of the conditions before the tracks progressively deteriorated. The sandy gravel turned to mud and ruts filled with water to provide treacherous driving for those behind.

He charged to a third consecutive fastest time by almost 15sec while Evans slid off the slimy road into some bushes. He conceded more than 22sec to the flying Finn and his lead had turned into a 11.7sec deficit. Home hero Ott Tanak wrestled handling problems in his Hyundai i20 N all day. When a heater pipe directed onto his windscreen came loose in Vastsemõisa, the glass quickly misted and he too left the road. He recovered to end 44.3sec off the lead in third.

Brake problems hindered Esapekka Lappi all morning. Despite being one of three frontrunners to go off the road at the same final stage corner, he brought his GR Yaris home fourth, 21.6sec behind Tanak. A subdued Thierry Neuville was fifth in another i20 N. The Belgian also fought handling difficulties and could not defend against Lappi this afternoon after being fourth at the midpoint. He closed 7.0sec behind the Finn.

Adrien Fourmaux was almost a minute adrift in sixth, despite overshooting a penultimate stage corner in his Ford Puma when his windscreen wipers failed. He climbed a place when team-mate Pierre-Louis Loubet rolled at the tricky final stage bend and lost two minutes, plunging to ninth.

Takamoto Katsuta was seventh in another GR Yaris, steadily rebuilding confidence after rolling in Thursday’s shakedown. Gus Greensmith, another victim of ‘that’ corner was eighth with WRC2 leader Andreas Mikkelsen completing the top 10. Overnight leader Craig Breen was today’s big casualty. The Irishman was fourth until sliding off the road this morning and hitting a post in the grass. The impact broke his Puma’s front left suspension and he retired.


Kalle Rovanpera took a giant step towards his fifth win in six FIA World Rally Championship rallies with a superlative performance at Rally Estonia on Saturday. The 21-year-old Finn, who became the youngest event winner in history on the country’s roads 12 months ago, reeled off seven consecutive fastest times to demoralise team-mate and early leader Elfyn Evans.

Rovanpera relegated Evans in Friday’s final speed test to overnight with an 11.7sec advantage. After conceding a handful of tenths to the Welshman in Saturday’s opening test, he was almost untouchable through the rest of the day to stretch the gap to 29.1sec. Showers and sunshine offered inconsistent morning grip on the superfast gravel roads while more rain and deep ruts offered a different challenge this afternoon. The Toyota Gazoo Racing driver remained unflustered and insisted his performance was ‘nothing special’.

Evans’ own run of five fastest times on Friday that carried him almost 20sec clear of his GR Yaris-driving colleague were a distant memory and he admitted overhauling Rovanpera in Sunday’s final leg would be a long-shot. Hyundai i20 N team-mates Ott Tanak and Thierry Neuville were third and fourth after drama-free days. Tänak trailed Evans by 42.4sec and had almost 70sec in hand over the Belgian, who inherited the position when Esapekka Lappi changed a wheel after a heavy landing.

Neuville was under no pressure from Takamoto Katsuta in fifth and tested different settings this afternoon. Katsuta, driving another GR Yaris, demoted Adrien Fourmaux to sixth this morning and edged 10.9sec clear of the Ford Puma man. Lappi plunged to seventh after losing 2min 30sec with his tyre change but narrowed the deficit to Fourmaux by almost 30sec to 41.5sec over the rest of the day.

Pierre-Louis Loubet was eighth, the Frenchman demoting Puma team-mate Gus Greensmith, who also changed a wheel after a heavy sideways landing damaged the tyre. WRC2 leader Andreas Mikkelsen completed the leaderboard in a Škoda Fabia.


Kalle Rovanperä clinched back-to-back Rally Estonia wins on Sunday afternoon with a masterclass drive to secure his fifth FIA World Rally Championship win in six rounds. Twelve months ago he became the WRC’s youngest rally winner with victory in Estonia. Today’s virtuoso success moved him a step closer to becoming the youngest champion in the series’ 50-year history.

The 21-year-old Finn finished the four-day gravel road fixture 1min 00.9sec clear of Toyota GR Yaris team-mate Elfyn Evans to stretch his points lead to 83 after seven of 13 rounds. Evans dominated initially but Rovanperä grabbed the lead in Friday’s final rain-soaked speed test. After fine-tuning his car’s set-up on Saturday morning, he reeled off seven consecutive fastest times to distance the Welshman and more than double his advantage.

Rain again ensured slippery conditions in Sunday’s closing leg but Rovanperä was in no mood to compromise. He won the final Wolf Power Stage by an astounding 22.4sec to gain maximum bonus points. Such was his dominance that he won 14 of the rally’s 24 tests.

Evans virtually conceded defeat on Saturday night and any lingering hopes he retained of catching his team-mate were extinguished in Sunday’s second stage when he spun and dropped almost 10sec. The 1-2 extended reigning champion Toyota Gazoo Racing’s manufacturers’ points lead to 87.

Home hero Ott Tänak completed the podium a further 54.8sec adrift in a Hyundai i20. He never looked like threatening those ahead as he wrestled handling problems but the four-time Estonia winner was more than good enough to finish best of the rest. Team-mate Thierry Neuville endured similar issues but kept a cool head to finish almost two minutes further back in fourth, despite a Sunday brush with some bushes and a spin.

Fifth was Takamoto Katsuta’s reward after recovering from a roll in Thursday morning’s warm-up which required frantic bodywork repairs from his Toyota team. The Japanese driver ended 20.1sec behind Neuville and 35.7sec clear of Esapekka Lappi’s GR Yaris. Lappi’s hopes of a top four finish ended when he had to change a puncture following a heavy landing on Saturday. The Finn plunged to seventh but won two tests on the final day and eased ahead of Adrian Fourmaux’s Ford Puma in the last one.

The result brought relief to Frenchman Fourmaux after a torrid opening half of the season in which he posted four retirements in six rounds. It was a disappointing final day for M-Sport Ford. Pierre-Louis Loubet retired after hitting a rock in the opening stage and breaking his Puma’s front left suspension while Gus Greensmith exited after the next test with a transmission problem.

The final three places were filled by drivers from the WRC2 premier support category. Andreas Mikkelsen held off a determined charge from Teemu Suninen to claim eighth, with Emil Lindholm taking 10th after Marco Bulacia crashed in the penultimate test.

Here’s WRC Rally Estonia results: https://www.wrc.com/en/wrcplus/live-timing/

[Note: The above is as per press release with no edits made]