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WRC Rally Finland

Rovanpera rolls out of WRC Rally Finland lead

World Rally champion Kalle Rovanpera has crashed out of the Rally Finland lead after rolling his Toyota in stage eight on Friday afternoon. 

Kalle Rovanperä, Jonne Halttunen, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Rovanpera and co-driver Jonne Halttunen lost control of their GR Yaris going over a crest 11.1km into the famous Myhinpaa stage.

The Finnish duo rolled before eventually coming to a halt upside down at the edge of the gravel road.

Rovanpera and Halttunen emerged from the incident unscathed, while the damaged car was rolled back onto its wheels several minutes after the incident but remained stranded in the test.

The crash came as a surprise to many given Rovanpera held a 5.7s rally lead over Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans heading into stage eight and seemed to be in control after winning the previous five stages.

The incident has handed the rally lead to Evans with the 2021 Rally Finland winner 10.9s ahead of Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville, while the Toyota of Takamoto Katsuta sits third, 13.3s adrift.

“I have heard that driver and co-driver are safe and that is the most important thing for our team,” said Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda, who has been drafted in as acting team principal this weekend with Jari-Matti Latvala competing.    

“The car we don’t know about yet so we will investigate and then we can give you more detailed information.” 

Kalle Rovanperä, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Kalle Rovanperä, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Rovanpera’s exit is the latest of a string of dramatic events on Friday that has already seen M-Sport duo Ott Tanak and Pierre-Louis Loubet retire in addition to Hyundai’s Esapekka Lappi

Tanak suffered an engine failure after a rock ripped the sump guard from his Ford Puma just moments before Loubet crashed out in stage three.

Lappi crashed out of fourth position when the Finn misjudged a right-hander in stage five. Lappi lost control of his i20 N which then suffered a heavy impact with the trees lining the stage.

He and co-driver Janne Ferm were also reported to be okay after the crash although Lappi has suffered a swollen ankle, while Ferm has been taken to hospital for a precautionary x-ray on his ribs.   

The high-profile Rally1 retirements leaves only five top level cars remaining with Hyundai’s Teemu Suninen in fourth ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala, making his first WRC start since 2020 driving a fourth Toyota. 

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