ROVANPERA TO THE MAX

Autosport (UK) - - RACE CENTRE -

Kalle Rovanpera is here. A se­cond WRC2 win (and the first with op­po­si­tion) couldn’t have come in more dom­i­nant fash­ion as ‘ral­ly­ing’s Max Ver­stap­pen’ won 15 of Rally GB’S 23 stages. Real­is­ti­cally, the event was over af­ter Fri­day morn­ing, when he took a 36-se­cond lead into ser­vice.

The field had been lauded as one of the strong­est in the WRC2’S his­tory for the R5-class cars, not least Rovanpera’s reign­ing cham­pion Skoda team-mate Pon­tus Tide­mand, who won the class in last year’s Rally GB and has long been touted for a top WRC seat in the fu­ture.

Bear­ing in mind Rovanpera is just 18 years old – be­com­ing the class’s youngest-ever win­ner – he has well and truly ban­ished any doubt that he is des­tined for great things.

He had made his WRC2 de­but in

Wales weeks af­ter his 17th birth­day last year, be­com­ing its youngest starter, but a lack­lus­tre per­for­mance (in­clud­ing an off that broke his ra­di­a­tor) left ques­tion marks. This year he’s switched to de­scrip­tive notes and swapped a Fi­esta for a Fabia.

His pace has been bril­liant in 2018, but the odd mis­take – like a roll into a car park in Ar­gentina – has been made. But at his age, he prob­a­bly ought to be mak­ing those mis­takes and in Wales he proved he could lead from the front in style.

Tide­mand came un­der pres­sure from Brit Gus Green­smith – lead­ing the M-sport charge in his Fi­esta R5 – but a spin for Green­smith on Satur­day morn­ing’s Dyfi stage made the gap too big to rec­on­cile. Jari Hut­tunen (Hyundai i20) and Stephane Le­feb­vre (Citroen C3) made it four man­u­fac­tur­ers in the top five.

Matt Ed­wards wrapped up the Bri­tish Rally Cham­pi­onship in his Fi­esta R5 on the first day of the event. David Bo­gie was the star of the class and was fifth in the R5 class over­all be­fore crash­ing in Gwydir on Sun­day morn­ing. Steve Rok­land sealed the Ju­nior BRC and his Peu­geot 208 was the top R2-spec car in the over­all or­der. JACK BENYON

Rovanpera was supreme in the WRC2 class

Ed­wards clinched the Bri­tish Rally ti­tle with vic­tory in his Fi­esta

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