Kalle Rovanperä snatched a unprecedented Croatia Rally victory on Sunday afternoon as a downpour turned the occasion on its head within the last kilometres.
The Finn led from the beginning of the three-day rally within the hills round Zagreb in his Toyota GR Yaris, just for a storm within the penultimate pace take a look at to wipe out his hard-earned benefit.
A resurgent Ott Tänak, whose gamble on softer Pirelli tyres gave his Hyundai i20 N a efficiency edge on the streaming asphalt, grabbed a 1.4sec lead.
The pendulum swung again in direction of Rovanperä as drier roads within the closing Wolf Energy Stage supplied hope, however the odds remained firmly in Tänak’s favour as mud and dust littered the ultimate 14.09km.
Rovanperä threw warning to the wind and remarkably overturned the deficit to assert back-to-back FIA World Rally Championship wins by 4.3sec. Victory prolonged his factors result in 29 after three rounds of the 13-event season.
He had dominated the early phases of the occasion and was nearly 90sec clear till falling into Tänak’s clutches following a puncture on Saturday morning. He then rebuilt his result in half a minute till the deluge arrange a wide ranging finale.
“I used to be certain we couldn’t be so quick with these tyres, but it surely’s superb,” smiled Rovanperä. “We pushed actually laborious and I believe we deserve it this weekend. For certain, it was the hardest win of my profession.”
It was a disappointing end result for Tänak, whose victory drought dates again to February 2021. “I didn’t take any dangers, however Kalle clearly did drive,” he stated. “We have been combating for the win, however solely due to intelligent choices and tyre decisions.”
The Estonian completed 2min 16.7sec away from team-mate Thierry Neuville. The Belgian overhauled Craig Breen on the ultimate morning to assert a podium regardless of a torrid weekend that may have pressured many to surrender.
He and co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe have been on the purpose of collapse after pushing their automotive for 800 metres into service on Friday, after stopping with alternator issues.
Time penalties and dashing fines knocked them additional again and so they nearly gave up a podium in sight of the end after hitting a financial institution and nearly rolling.
Breen survived an overshoot and a spin to take fourth in a Ford Puma. The Irishman fended off a closing Elfyn Evans, whose fifth place marked a primary factors end of the 12 months for the GR Yaris driver. Japan’s Takamoto Katsuta was a distant sixth in one other Yaris.
The collection switches to gravel for the primary time in 2022 at Vodafone Rally de Portugal. The fourth spherical is predicated at Matosinhos on Could 19–22.
Last positions after Sunday
Ok Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota GR Yaris 2h 48m 21.5s
O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Hyundai i20 +4.3sec
T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 +2min 21.0sec
C Breen / P Nagle IRL Ford Puma +3min 7.3sec
E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris +3min 46.0sec