Morning Chronicle - Rovanpera emulates father and wins Sweden Rally

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Rovanpera emulates father and wins Sweden Rally
Rovanpera emulates father and wins Sweden Rally

Rovanpera emulates father and wins Sweden Rally

Kalle Rovanpera emulated his father Harri when he won Rally Sweden on Sunday.

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The Toyota driver finished 22 seconds ahead of Belgian Thierry Neuville in a Hyundai. Another Finn in a Toyota, Esapekka Lappi, was third.

"I didn't feel like celebrating much now," said Rovanpera. "It has been a really difficult week for the people in Ukraine and I hope they can find strength and hope in these difficult times."

For Kalle, who is 21, Sunday's victory was his third in the championship.

His father, Harri, gained his only World Rally Championship victory in the same event in February 2001 when Kalle was four months old.

Rovanpera had led Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans, who won the last Rally Sweden in 2020, going into the final day although the Welshman was fortunate to make the start line.

On the last corner on Saturday, Evans ploughed through snow, but powered back onto the course flying back over a snowbank and ending up in a parking lot.

Even though he passed the photo cell marking the finish line, the organisers judged that he had not followed the marked route and penalised him 10 seconds.

On Sunday, the snowbank resisted and Evans did so much damage to his front end he had to withdraw.

Rovanpera won the stage and from there cruised to victory.

"I am really pleased. I didn't think that we could be this good," he said. "The car was working great all the time. I feel much more confident now."

The Hyundais, who had started the season struggling in Monte Carlo, took the last three of the day's four stages.

Neuville took the third stage of the day.

"After Monte Carlo we had a lot of work to do," said the Belgian.

"We are here and we are showing that we are going the right way. I am looking forward to the upcoming events. There is a lot of work left, but we are going to do it."

Ott Tanak, who started Sunday more than 20 minutes behind after a mechanical problem on Friday won the second stage and the closing power stage.

Rovanpera takes provisional lead in the world championship standings after two races with Neuville second.

The semi-retired French veterans Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier, who finished first and second in Monte Carlo, opted to skip Sweden.