“It’s been a tough year and it’s nice to win (Rally Estonia), which for me is like a home rally,” said Rovanpera.
“We’ve proven that the speed is there and now we’re bringing it home and it’s great.”
Rovanpera broke the previous record held by his current Toyota team principal, his compatriot Jari-Matti Latvala, the 22-year-old winner in Rally Sweden in 2008, who in turn broke the previous record held by Henry Toivnen, winner at the age of 24 years and 86 days. Rack Rally, Wales, Britain in 1980.
The Rovanpera became the first new driver to have his name on the gold list of winners, since Welshman Elvin Evans, who won the British Rally four years ago, and the Rovanpera family became the first family to win through father and son, as Harry, the father, had previously won one WRC with Peugeot, specifically in Rally Sweden in 2001.
The young driver dominated the Estonia Rally, which was held on gravel tracks from the first day of the competition, and specifically since the former title holder and son of the earth, Ott Tanak, left the fourth stage after suffering two punctures.
We note that Tanak, the fastest during the last “Bow Stage” stage, won his country’s rally title four times, including during the last three years.
Rovanpera, who climbed to fourth place in the drivers’ standings, includes winning the WRC2 World Championship in 2019, as he was previously crowned the open class champion in the Latvian Rally Championship in 2016 and 2017, and in the R2 class in 2015.
On the other hand, Rovanpera contributed to the Toyota Gazoo Racing team achieving its sixth victory out of seven since the start of the competitions this year, and the fifth in a row, specifically since the Croatian Rally (third round) with Ogier and then Evans winning in Portugal, so the Frenchman returned and won the Sardinia Rally and Kenya Safari titles. .
Rovanpera advanced in the final overall standings with a time of 2.51,29.1 hours, leaving behind the Irish duo “Hyundai” Greg Brin (+59.9 seconds, the biggest difference this year) who repeated last year’s scenario when he finished runner-up behind then-winner Tanak, And Belgian Thierry Nouvel, who trailed by 1.12.4 minutes.
Neuville made up for his disappointments this year by climbing to third place in the drivers’ standings, 52 points behind French leader Sebastien Ogier.
Ogier finished fourth on the Estonian tracks and increased his lead in the drivers’ standings to 37 points over his closest pursuers, teammate Evans, who finished fifth, and M-Sport driver Timo Sonnen (Ford Fiesta WRC) sixth, and Frenchman Pierre Louis. Lobe (Hyundai), son of European champion Yves Lobe, seventh, who managed to finish a rally for the first time this year with his first points, and equaled his best result in the WRC.
In eighth place in the general standings and first in the WRC, Russian Alexei Lukyanuk took his first rally behind the wheel of a Skoda Fabia Rally 2 Evo.
In the WRC2 category, ninth-placed Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen (Tuxbourg WTRT) was a second ahead of his nearest challenger, teammate Mads Ostberg, who completed the top 10.
The latter was unable to describe what happened to him on the Estonian tracks, as he said: “I don’t know what to say,” considering that the weekend “does not want to end.”
He continued, “I had a lot of problems with the brakes, we went off the track during stage 23 and hit hurdles, so it was crazy. It’s a crazy weekend.”
The Saudi driver, Rakan Al-Rashed, and his new navigator Andy Habala, aboard the Volkswagen Golf Polo GTIR5, returned to the WRC3 category for special teams, after he withdrew on the first and second days.
Al-Rashed, who finished 11th in his category, insisted on returning regardless of the outcome to gain as much experience as possible on fast and challenging tracks.