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Rovanpera: Important to bounce back immediately from Ypres WRC crash

World Rally Championship leader Kalle Rovanpera says it was important to bounce back from a violent Ypres Rally Belgium crash by winning the powerstage.

Kalle Rovanpera, Jonne Halttunen, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 with the team

Kalle Rovanpera, Jonne Halttunen, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 with the team

Toyota Racing

The runaway championship leader made his first costly error of the season on the Belgian asphalt roads when he crashed out of Stage 2 while leading the rally.

The accident was the 21-year-old’s first since Rally Finland in October last year, having finished in the points at every WRC event that has followed since then. Heading into Belgium, the Finn had built up a 94-point lead after recording five wins.

Toyota completed a lengthy repair of Rovanpera’s heavily damaged GR Yaris to ensure its driver could rejoin the rally on Saturday.

Rovanpera was immediately back on the pace as he claimed the first of Saturday’s stages, before going on to win Sunday’s powerstage to secure the five bonus points. The victory ensured his championship lead was only reduced to 72-points over Belgium winner Ott Tanak's Hyundai.

PLUS: How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders

“Yes it was important [to win the powerstage] of course, we bounced back on Saturday morning quite well but for sure the main thing was to do it on the powerstage,” Rovanpera told Autosport.

“It was good to get some points and now the gap didn’t close too much.

“It felt normal, straight away I wanted to push a bit, or not push but to drive normally, and have a good feeling so that it was easier to stay focused and try to enjoy it.

“I learned a few things in a tricky rally like this. Hopefully we will learn from the mistake also.”

Kalle Rovanpera, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Kalle Rovanpera, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Photo by: Toyota Racing

Rovanpera was quick to praise his mechanics for completing a significant rebuild of the car into the early hours of Saturday morning, to allow him to salvage five championship points.

“The guys did such a good job on Saturday morning I couldn’t see or feel anything strange, so it was a great job to be back in the car,” he added.

The WRC heads to Greece for the Acropolis Rally next month, the site of Rovanpera’s second career WRC win last season.

Nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb is set to feature for M-Sport Ford at the event, for what will be his fourth outing of the 2022 season.

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