Kalle Rovanpera sets course for the earliest triumph

The 20-year-old Finn leads the way in the land of Ott Tanak, who retired after DJing three times, and could become the youngest winner in history.


There is still a long way to go Rally Estonia, but Kalle Rovanpera has laid the first stone to become the youngest winner in World Championship history. At the age of 20, this young Finnish son of another illustrious driver, Harri, leads the seventh round of the season. If he can stay that way until Sunday, he will dethrone his Toyota team boss, Jari Matti Latvala, who became the earliest winner at the 2008 Rally Sweden at 22 years and 313 days.Taking advantage of its delayed starting position, from which it found the fast Estonian roads clean of gravel, Rovanpera is clearly dominating the Estonian appointment. He has won 7 of the 9 stages contested, but that has not allowed him to separate from a Craig Breen who has become his greatest rival, also favored for being one of those who started behind. Only 8.5 seconds separate them and from the second stage the starting order is reversed, so their pursuers, especially Thierry Neuville and Sebastien Ogier, will go for them.

The one who has fallen from the fight has been the local idol, Ott Tanak, who retired after suffering three punctures. The Estonian set the best time in the first stage of the day, placing himself in the lead, but in the second he suffered the first puncture, giving up almost half a minute. But it was in the third in which he was sentenced, when he went out to a meadow in a curve and punctured two wheels. Without replacement, he had to abandon and ruin the dream of his countrymen to see him win again as happened last year. The other notable abandonment of the day was that of Takamoto Katsuta, who was retiring when his co-pilot Daniel Barritt suffered severe pain in his back and neck.

Pepe López is picking up the tone of the fast Estonian stages and their multitude of jumps, and has finished the first stage in fifth position in his category, WRC3, although far from the leading quartet.Classification

1. Rovanpera-Halttunen (Fin / Toyota), 1h 06m 54.4s

2. Breen-Nagle (Bel / Hyundai), at 8.5

. Neuville-Wydaeghe (Bel / Hyundai), at 53.

4. Ogier-Ingrassia (Fra / Toyota), at 59.

5. Evans-Martin (Gbr / Toyota), at 1: 15.1

Photos from as.com
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