Kalle Rovanperä has conquered 13 out of the 24 stages up for grabs this weekend to claim his fifth win of the season at the Rally Estonia WRC 2022 and seventh round of the year. The Finn has led Toyota’s 1-2 ahead of Elfyn Evans (+1min 00.9s), who was defeated by his teammate for the second race in a row, despite giving a fabulous performance.
Evans was strong from the start, winning the first five stages on Friday and leading the rally until the penultimate special of the day. Later on, however, he had no choice but to kneel before the blatant superiority of a racer blessed by the gods of speed. A spin on Saturday, where he lost nine seconds, and the relentless push of the young Scandinavian in all terrain and conditions (dry, wet and muddy sections), killed any chance he might have had to win.
Hyundai’s local hero, Ott Tänak, completed the podium. The Estonian couldn’t repeat his success of two years ago (2020) before his compatriots in Tartu. Instead, he had to witness how Rovanperä revalidated his 2021 win. Despite his ‘disappointing’ result, the performance of the 2019 World Champion was nothing short of remarkable.
Despite being heavily let down by the inferiority of his i20 N, he managed to squeeze all the juice out of it. The shipwreck of the Alzenau team, however, seems unavoidable. They are not even able to put up the slightest resistance against the Japanese squad. Proof of this is their single victory so far in this campaign in Sardinia.
The Rally Estonia WRC 2022 has, in sum, followed the trend of the course which has been marked by the superiority of the young Scandinavian and his GR Yaris. The invincible duo has taken five wins (Croatia, Sweden, Portugal & Kenya) out of seven races this season.
The technical proficiency of the Japanese rocket, which was further updated for this round, forms a perfect duo with the colossal talent of the Finn. After his Rally Estonia WRC 2022 win, Rovnaperá extended his championship lead to 83 points ahead of Thierry Neuville (Hyundai), who was fourth in Estonia.
Rovanperä and Toyota, ‘intractable’ from Friday
Rovanperä is displaying a rare maturity for his 21 years of age. He seems to perfectly interpret every situation ahead of his opponents without making a single mistake. With a little bit of luck on his side, such as the torrential rain that slowed his rivals down on Friday, nothing can stop him. He ousted Evans from the lead in that ninth stage and stayed there until the end of the rally. He even managed to extend Friday’s 11.7s lead to 29.1 seconds thanks to an extraordinary performance.
That was precisely the stage that would determine the outcome of the race. Uncontainable at the wheel of the red and white missile, Rovanperä sat the best time in seven of the eight stages on Saturday. Evans tried to follow in the wake of the Finish whirlwind as best as he could but in the end, he was unable to keep up and lost 17.4 seconds.
Rovanperä´s Sunday Exhibition
That was the distance that separated them at the beginning of the Sunday battle, and as expected, the #69 was able to manage his advantage at will. Rovanperä sent a very clear message to Evans from the start opening up another 0.7s with him on the 19th stage.
He did not want to give the Briton even a glimmer of hope. Evans, for his part, can be pat himself on the back for not being completely overwhelmed by the ‘Finn prodigy’. Rovanperä even gave himself the luxury of doubling his advantage to one minute and nine tenths with Evans in the end, winning even Power Stage, 62,5s ahead of the Welshman. The Finn is pushing ahead towards a title that is practically his already. A star has been born.
Images of Rally Estonia WRC 2022: Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT.