Calais Ravanpera won a stunning third victory at the World Rally Championship in Portugal, defeating his teammate Elfin Evans and receiving the maximum number of points with the victory in the full stage.
The start of the first on the road for the gravel rally was expected to be a big challenge for the championship leader, and after the first Friday stage he found himself on the 10th.
But during the first day of the rally he quietly climbed to second place and then on Saturday afternoon defeated Evans to take the lead, which he continued on Sunday stages, winning four of five.
This included the fastest time on the Fafe stage, giving him a second perfect score of 30 points after doing the same in Croatia last month.
Evans just didn’t have an answer to Ravanper’s speed on Sunday, he only fought back for a few seconds on Fafe’s first pass, but otherwise couldn’t keep up.
He started the final stage nine seconds behind Ravanper, only to lose another 6.1 seconds, finishing fifth in the power stage for one bonus point.
“We definitely needed a result, that’s for sure. Obviously disappointed with today’s results. I’ll take my hat off to Calais, he did a great job, ”Evans suggested.
The long struggle for the final place on the podium ended, and Dani Sorda took third place in the junior Toyota driver Takamoto Katsuta on the stage of Fafe Powerstage.
Sorda started the stage with 2.2 seconds to catch up with GR Yaris ahead, and flew to Fafe, beating his much younger opponent by 4.3 seconds to get the job done at the very last moment.
Despite taking last place on the podium under dramatic circumstances, Sorda did not feel he deserved it.
“This is not a real third position,” he said. “The whole weekend we weren’t so fast on stages, so I’m a little disappointed. If we can finish third, fourth, that’s nice, but I want to be at that pace all the time.
Meanwhile, Katsuta, for obvious reason, failed to reach the second podium of his WRC career, winning his first safari rally last year.
“Big congratulations Danny. I feel sorry for the team, ”said the depressed Katsuta. “I tried, but clearly not enough. I’m just not good enough. I still need to improve. I have no words, to be honest. “
It looked like Hyundai would have at least one driver in the lead fight early Friday, and Thierry Neville was among Toyota’s early before a broken propeller shaft put it in order.
The strong recovery to fifth place ended on Sunday with a simple move, although hopes of winning the power stage were bleak, as the missing front splitter on his i20 N Rally1 cost him dearly the front handle.
“I gave everything. But I didn’t have aerodynamics, so I didn’t have front. I had a few moments when I lost the car in front, ”Neville said.
“We can congratulate Toyota on their strong result this weekend and their reliability.”
Ott Tenak was the man who carried out the mission on Sunday morning, starting at eight, but with two M-Sports firmly in sight. The victories at the Montima and Fafa stages combined with Brin’s technical challenges meant that he had already achieved his goal of finishing sixth before the start of the final stage.
The accident on Friday afternoon brought out of the net Sebastian Loeb, the main contender for the victory of M-Sport, as a result of which the four remaining cars were fighting for a midfield position.
From his quartet it was Pierre-Louis Lube who brought home an army of Ford Pumas, finishing seventh after something like a roller coaster rally.
Although his pace has improved significantly in recent years after his turbulent two-year stay at the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC customer, he still survived two spins on Saturday and then lost even more time when his wipers failed. of Amarante.
On Sunday he had to ride on used software, and on Saturday he began to play in his fresh sets in the hope that it will rain heavily. This saved him a lot of time, lagging behind Tenac in pace, but still finished sixth overall.
Craig Brin took the troubled eighth place, losing a few minutes last morning due to a brake problem aboard his Ford Puma.
The puncture earlier in the rally brought him back, and although he recovered to sixth at one point, it didn’t continue.
Tenak tried to put pressure on him early Sunday morning, but it turned out he didn’t need to, as Bryn’s brakes began to fail before the penultimate stage.
This dropped him behind Tenac and his teammate Adrien Furmo, who finished the rally in a quiet seventh place, and Brin was unhappy that a problem uncovered during Saturday night’s service hadn’t been fully resolved before Sunday’s exit.
“There seems to be a problem with one of the calipers or something,” Brin said. “Just disappointed that something came up last night, we didn’t think it would be a problem today. Really disappointed. “
He was not the only Puma driver to struggle with the brakes, as Lubet reported a similar problem.
“We had a problem with the brake at the end, like Craig, but not like him,” Lubet explained. “But it’s part of the game. We’re done and we can be happy with what we’ve done. Thanks to the team because the car was great. ”
Sebastian Auger could only regret what could have been, finishing out of the top 50 overall after retiring twice in two days.
Two punctures in two stages on Friday, when he had only one spare, ended his rally for the first time before a crash on Saturday morning stopped his Yaris for the second time.
He could only score the seventh fastest time on Powerstage by reporting a hybrid problem. It was little consolation after a disappointing rally.
“It’s a tough weekend for us. At least we can get this experience by studying the car on the gravel, and use it for the next one, ”said Ogier, already looking forward to his next trip to GR Yaris.
Theme Suninen rejected an almost certain victory in the WRC2 at the very last stage of the rally, pushing his Hyundai i20 N Rally2 off the road and getting stuck at an early stage.
This allowed reigning WRC3 champion Johan Rossel, who arrived in the final stage a minute below Suninen, to win his second WRC2 victory in a row aboard his Citroën C3 Rally2 under unexpected circumstances.
“He is just ashamed. I’m sorry, ‘said Rossel, knowing he was lucky to win.