WRC points leader Rovanpera crashes out of Rally Croatia

WRC championship leader Kalle Rovanpera has said he is “super annoyed” to have exited the Rally Croatia on the very first stage.

The young Finn crashed out heavily around three miles into the asphalt event's 'Plesivica' test – the shortest of the weekend at 4.31-miles.

As Rovanpera approached a tightening right hander, his Toyota Yaris ran wide and was sucked off the road.

Both he and co-driver Jonne Halttunen managed to walk away unhurt, although their car sustained considerable panel damage.

Just moments prior to their demise, the pair recorded a split time none of the remaining WRC crews managed to better.

Rovanpera's crash in Croatia

Rovanpera's crash in Croatia

Posting on Twitter, Rovanpera revealed he had been struggling with the car's handling prior to the off.

The car itself is being recovered and being returned to service where it is hoped mechanics can repair the damage and have it ready in time for tomorrow's stages. "I am super annoyed," said Rovanpera.

"The whole opening stage was super slippery and we were struggling with a lot of understeer. I still tried to push, but on this fast right hander grip just completely disappeared and we understeered off the road into the trees.

"Really sorry for the team; this was my mistake and I will learn from this.

"Mechanics will check the car once we get it back to service to see if the car is fixable for tomorrow."

Prior to the start of the Zagreb-based rally, the 20-year-old told Motorsport.com that opening the road brought a greater element of risk as opposed to reward, with mud and gravel a common sight this morning.

"On the Friday loop, it looks as though there are not many places you can gain [time by opening the road] because after the recce many stages are already dirty and they're not going to clean," he said.

"I don't know if [first place] is going to help. It is going to be really tricky because it is a new event and you need new pace notes, so there is going to be lots of challenges," he added.

Rovanpera's retirement opened the door to Hyundai's Thierry Neuville, who leads the third round by 7.3 seconds from Elfyn Evans after four stages. Reigning champion Sebastien Ogier is a further five seconds off the pace in third.

shares
comments
M-Sport would exit WRC if new hybrid rules are delayed
Previous article

M-Sport would exit WRC if new hybrid rules are delayed

Next article

WRC Rally Croatia: Neuville holds slender lead from Ogier

WRC Rally Croatia: Neuville holds slender lead from Ogier
Why WRC's Safari tour is more than just a rally Prime

Why WRC's Safari tour is more than just a rally

OPINION: A source of national pride in Kenya, the Safari Rally is also a sporting, cultural and economic phenomenon. And as last weekend's World Rally Championship round reminded us, it's a key driver in establishing Africa’s place in world motorsport.

WRC
Jun 29, 2022
How Kalle Rovanpera tamed a wild WRC Safari Rally in Kenya Prime

How Kalle Rovanpera tamed a wild WRC Safari Rally in Kenya

The Safari Rally acted as a brutal test of driver and car resolve as multiple retirements opened the path for a historic Toyota 1-2-3-4 triumph, headed by star Kalle Rovanpera. But keeping things clean was only half of the challenge, as a well-timed charge when conditions worsened allowed the Finn to take control

WRC
Jun 27, 2022
How Tanak turned the tables to deliver Hyundai a timely WRC triumph Prime

How Tanak turned the tables to deliver Hyundai a timely WRC triumph

The 2019 champion has been a bit-part player recently, but Ott Tanak ended a 15-month drought in fine style with a dominant win in Sardinia. On a weekend when championship leader Kalle Rovanpera struggled with cleaning the road, his Hyundai rival has made his belated arrival into the title race and given cause for those predicting a walkover from the Toyota star to pause

WRC
Jun 6, 2022
The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera Prime

The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera

Kalle Rovanpera’s 2022 World Rally Championship displays have been spectacular, with the Toyota driver benefitting from a secret weapon in his crew to win two of the opening three rallies. But while the former challenger to Sebastien Loeb won’t take credit for his fellow Finn's performances, a key bond has been formed which could prove key to Rovanpera’s title charge

WRC
Apr 29, 2022
How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals Prime

How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals

After a dominating Rally Croatia, a wrong tyre choice on the final day looked to have undone all Kalle Rovanpera's hard work and left him with a mountain to climb heading into the power stage. That he emerged the winner all the same has surely quelled any lingering doubts that the Finn is the man to beat in the 2022 WRC

WRC
Apr 25, 2022
How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021 Prime

How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021

It's fair to say 2021 was a year to forget for Pierre-Louis Loubet. A maiden full World Rally Championship season offered hope but soon turned into a nightmare that ended in hospital, after being hit by a car in a road traffic accident. Now handed a lifeline by M-Sport, the Frenchman is desperate to rebuild his career

WRC
Apr 20, 2022
Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect Prime

Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect

The drivers get the glare of attention, but it’s the mechanics who are key to the operation of any World Rally Championship car. Motorsport.com donned a set of overalls and joined M-Sport on a Belgian national rally event to get an inside look into the life of a rally mechanic.

WRC
Apr 17, 2022
The African McRae aiming to become a WRC pioneer Prime

The African McRae aiming to become a WRC pioneer

Taking his first step into the Junior World Rally Championship category, McRae Kimathi - named after 1995 world champion Colin - found himself in the unfamiliar climes of Sweden's snow and ice. Having impressed, Kimathi hopes to blaze a trail to the top level of WRC and help other African drivers to step onto the ladder

WRC
Mar 8, 2022