ROVANPERA TO THE MAX
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