Rovanpera on brink of history-making WRC triumph

Kalle Rovanpera in action at Rally Estonia

Kalle Rovanpera is closing in on becoming the youngest event winner in World Rally Championship history.

The Toyota youngster holds a decisive 50.7-second lead over Hyundai’s Craig Breen heading into the final day of the Rally Estonia.

Rovanpera, 20, enjoyed a stunning Saturday at the tarmac event to open up a buffer and put him on the verge of a maiden top-tier victory.

“It’s been a really nice day and it feels good to be in this position,” said the Finnish-born, Estonian-based driver.

“We know the first stage this morning was the most difficult stage of the rally, a really technical stage with brand new pace notes, and we prepared really well for that knowing that we could make some difference.

“It didn’t feel so good, but it was clean and I was trying to push and the time was really good.

“After that we could make a gap and then manage it on the second pass, where the conditions were quite rough.

“There were some tricky places with big ruts but we managed it quite well.

“Tomorrow is going to be a long day still: in this position we need to be focused all the time to not make any mistakes but still have a good rhythm.”

Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala heaped praise on Rovanpera.

“Kalle could not have been better today: it was a 10-out-of-10 day from him,” said Latvala.

“To attack on the most difficult stage of the rally this morning and take the advantage that he did was really good.

“Then he was able to keep up the speed until the afternoon when he could start to back off a bit.

“He has managed it really, really well, and he has a good advantage now which means that he doesn’t need to take any risks.”

Hyundai star Thierry Neuville is half a minute behind Breen in third, with Toyota duo Sebastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans rounding out the top five.

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