Sweden WRC: Evans in control with two stages left
Toyota’s Elfyn Evans has extended his Rally Sweden lead to 16.9 seconds after winning all three of Saturday morning’s stages.
Evans started the day with an 8.5s advantage over the Hyundai of Ott Tanak but managed to double the gap, capitalising on the tricky terrain in the warmer weather.
With confirmation that Sunday’s first running of the Likenas stage will not go ahead due to the unusually temperate conditions, Tanak has less than 25 kilometres to catch Sweden’s runaway leader.
Behind the leading duo Evan’s Toyota teammates Kalle Rovanpera and Sebastien Ogier continued to battle for third position, with Ogier closing the gap to the nineteen-year-old to a tenth of a second on the day’s opening stage.
The six-time champion then went on to eclipse Rovanpera on Finnskogen to take the position after a set-up change - but a set-up change of his own for Rovanpera to protect his tyres allowed the Finn to take back third by 1.3s in the next stage.
M-Sport’s Esapekka Lappi held on to fifth ahead of Monte Carlo Rally winner Thierry Neuville despite a small mistake on Nykelvattnet, meaning he goes into the afternoon five seconds ahead of the Hyundai driver.
Craig Breen remains in seventh in his first WRC outing of 2020, ahead of the second M-Sport of Teemu Suninen.
Suninen is 25s down on the Irishman after a difficult morning in the unpredictable conditions.
Takamoto Katsuta is ninth in the third Toyota while Jari-Matti Latvala retired his privateer Toyota entry before Saturday’s running due to engine issues.
WRC3 leader Jari Huttunen sits in tenth, while Mads Ostberg is the WRC2 frontrunner in twelfth.
Sweden WRC: Evans leads Tanak after Friday stages
Sweden WRC: Evans ends Saturday on cusp of win