The leader of the World Rally Championship will go to five stages on Sunday with an advantage of 5.7 seconds after overhaul of teammate Toyota Elphin Evans over four tests hit by rain on Saturday.
Before the first gravel rally in Portugal, the task was to be the first to cope with the heavy dusty roads in Portugal.
However, Ravanpera won because of the problems faced by several of his opponents during a tough Friday before Saturday’s fighting brought him to the front, taking the lead on the penultimate stage of the day.
Ravanpera spent a flawless drive in the heavy rain to rid his opponent and 2021 Portugal Rally winner Evans of 13.4 seconds and take the lead, arranging a tense duel to win on Sunday.
Asked if he could believe he was in the position, he replied to Autosport: “No, not really – I didn’t expect it.
“I felt pretty comfortable in the car and I didn’t move the boundaries all the time, but when I knew it was good conditions, I went for it. I just tried all the time to have a good pace.
“Certainly, we were trying to do that, because Elfin had no problems. We struggled behind the wheel, so I can be happy with that.
“We have to prepare well for tomorrow, it will be difficult.”
Elfin Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1
Photo: McKlein / Drawings of motorsport
Although he lost the lead that had been held since the fifth stage on Friday, Evans admitted he was too cautious in the wet conditions on stage 15, but refuses to give up the win.
“Definitely [we still have chance to win]I wouldn’t say that [the gap] it’s nothing because nowadays everything is so close, but it definitely is, ”Evans told Autosport. “We will look forward to the fight, we have to do our best.
“It’s [stage 15] was painful, it rained quite heavily, especially in the beginning.
“We just faced such changing conditions, and I had a few big slides, so maybe I retreated too much in these difficult early parts, and it’s hard to see how conditions changed or not.
“Calais did a great job and his time showed that in the end, it’s the merit of his performance, he was really strong.
“It’s still close and we can still fight tomorrow.”
Toyota boss Jari-Mati Latvala has confirmed that the team’s orders will not be followed, allowing the pair to fight for victory on Sunday, despite Ravanper’s 59-point lead over Evans in the championship.
“We don’t like team orders, and that’s wrong for drivers,” Latvala told Autosport.
“Some people may say that the championships were lost because they didn’t use team orders, but when I drove to Volkswagen, we never did team orders and we still won four manufacturer titles.”