Rovanperä makes history at Rally Estonia by becoming youngest WRC winner
Kalle Rovanperä won Rally Estonia 2021 with the Toyota Yaris WRC setting the record for being the youngest driver ever to win at WRC. The 20-year-old fended off early challenges from Craig Breen in the Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC to win the rally by 59.9sec. Rovanperä and his co-driver Jonne Halttunen led the time sheets for most of the first 10 stages of Rally Estonia and then managed his lead for the 14 stages, not topping the timesheets once, but holding on to his advantage. The fast tracks of Estonia were supposed to suit Hyundai’s Craig Breen. He had no hiccups during the race week but had picked up damage on his front suspension when he clipped a huge roadside rock on Saturday. Rovanperä has now moved up to P4 with 82 points in the drivers championship table after the victory. Championship leader Sébastien Ogier came in fourth in Estonia but still has the lead in the championship table with 148 points.
After winning the rally, Kalle Rovanperä said,"It has been a difficult season and it's really nice to get my first win here in Estonia". He added,"Our results haven't been so good, but we've proved the pace is there and today we brought it home. To be the youngest winner is amazing. It could have happened earlier, but now it's here."
Thierry Neuville finished third at Estonia after coming 12.5 seconds behind his teammate Craig Breen in second. The Belgian driver was reeling Breen in, but the chase fell apart after he received a 10 second time penalty for checking in late on Sunday due to technical problems.
Elfyn Evans could not get comfortable with the fast gravel tracks and the conditions of Estonia in his Yaris WRC. He finished fifth in the rally and now stands 37 points behind teammate Ogier in the championship table at P2 with 111 points. He said,”It’s been a difficult weekend overall for us. Today we tried to focus on the Power Stage and did what we could there, but unfortunately it wasn’t really the performance we wanted. It’s not been what we hoped or expected this weekend. I didn’t really gel with it from the start and I never found my rhythm. Obviously that’s something we have to put right for the next events.”
With Rally Estonia at an end, WRC heads to Renties Ypres Rally at Belgium on August 15. Toyota Gazoo Racing holds a 59 point lead over Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team at 315 points. With five rallies remaining on the calendar, Hyundai has a task on its hands to catch Toyota in the championship battle.