Croatia Rally Evans Leads After Day Two
Day two of the Croatia Rally finished with overall great course conditions and minimal complaints from the drivers. Elfyn Evans would end the day with a 25.4 second lead over Ott Tänak which solidified his lead at this point the round.
SS9, SS9 KOSTANJEVAC – PETRUŠ VRH 1
In Stage, 9 Kalle Rovanperä took the win beating Ott Tänak by 1.2 seconds. Tänak looked racey in the mid sector but it proved to not be enough for the stage win. Sebastien Ogier would finish third on the stage, 0.2 seconds behind Tänak adding more frustration to Ogier’s weekend. Thierry Neuville finish fourth on the stage, 1 second behind Ogier.
SS10, VINSKI VRH – DUGA RESA 1
Kalle Rovanperä took his second consecutive stage win of the weekend, beating Sebastien Ogier by 0.1 seconds this time. Ott Tänak would finish third on the stage, 0.5 seconds behind Ogier. Thierry Neuville would finish fourth on the stage, 1.9 seconds behind Tänak. Elfyn Evans would once again round out the top five on the stage, finishing 0.3 seconds behind Neuville.
SS11, RAVNA GORA – SKRAD 1
Stage 11 of the Croatia Rally would see Kalle Rovanperä take his third consecutive stage win, beating Sebastien Ogier by 2.5 seconds. Elfyn Evans would finish third on the stage, 6.1 seconds behind Ogier. Evans improved from the last two stages where he finished 5th. Ott Tänak would finish fourth on the stage, 3 seconds behind Evans. Takamoto Katsuta would round out the top five on the stage, finishing 2.3 seconds behind Tänak. Stage 11 was the turning point where Evans took the overall lead of the round.
Thierry Neuville crashed out of SS11. Neuville held a 10.8-second lead over Elfyn Evans. However, with Neuville out Evans had a clear path to overtake him in time and assumed the lead. Neuville stated in an interview after the accident, “I want to apologize to the team. We were all dreaming about the victory this weekend for the reasons we know. We were close but it hasn’t been an easy rally and we were fighting hard to keep believing but unfortunately, it ended up too early.”
SS12, PLATAK 1
Stage 12 would see Sebastien Ogier take the stage win, beating Kale Rovanperä by 0.7 seconds. Elfyn Evans was 4.4 seconds behind Rovanperä to take third place. Esapekka Lappi would finish fourth on the stage, 2 seconds behind Evans. Ott Tänak would round out the top five on the stage, finishing 1.5 seconds behind Lappi.
SS13, KOSTANJEVAC – PETRUŠ VRH 2
Stage 13 Sebastien Ogier continued his dominance to take another stage win, beating Ott Tänak by 0.4 seconds this time. This would be his 6th stage win of the weekend for Toyota Gazoo Racing. Kalle Rovanperä would finish third on the stage, 1.2 seconds behind Tänak. Pierre-Louis Loubet would finish fourth on the stage, 4.5 seconds behind Rovanperä. Elfyn Evans would round out the top five on the stage, finishing 1 second behind Loubet.
SS14, VINSKI VRH – DUGA RESA 2
At Stage 14 Ott Tänak fought back to take the stage win from Kalle Rovanperä by close 0.9 second margin. Tänak was 12.5s behind overall and would need to make up time over the next 6 rounds if he was to have any chance at winning the overall round. Sebastien Ogier was third on the stage, 1.2 seconds behind Rovanperä leaving him just under 2 minutes behind the leader. Ogier was effectively out of contention for winning the overall round at this point of the weekend. Elfyn Evans would finish fourth on the stage 1.3 seconds behind Ogier. Despite this finish Evans only lost 3 seconds to Tänak overall and maintain his lead into the next round. Esapekka Lappi rounded out the top five on the stage, finishing 0.3 seconds behind Evans.
SS15, RAVNA GORA – SKRAD 2
In Stage 15 of the Croatia Rally Kalle Rovanperä took the stage win, by 2.4 second margin over Ogier. Elfyn Evans would finish third on the stage, 4.7 seconds behind Ogier. Evans continue to hold the overall lead in the round. He extended his overall delta by 4.3 seconds to Tänak. Esapekka Lappi would finish fourth on the stage, 2.7 seconds behind Evans. Ott Tänak would round out the top five on the stage, finishing 1.6 seconds behind Lappi.
SS16, PLATAK 2
Sebastien Ogier took another stage win, beating Kalle Rovanperä by 0.7 seconds but remained 25.6 seconds behind Evans in what seems like a scenario where he did not have enough drive time left in the weekend to catch Evans. Esapekka Lappi would finish third on the stage, 3.2 seconds behind Rovanperä. Elfyn Evans would finish fourth on the stage, 1.9 seconds behind Lappi. Takamoto Katsuta would round out the top five on the stage, finishing 5 seconds behind Evans.
Rovanperä Shows Up
Kalle Rovanperä had a slow start to the Croatia Rally this year. As he would end day one in eighth, 47.4 seconds behind Pierre-Louis Loubet. Mind you Rovanperä did suffer a puncture on SS2. Rovanperä would come into day two like a man on a mission. Winning 4 out of the 8 stages on the day, and placing top three on all 8. Unfortunately, Rovanperä is too far back to achieve a top-three spot. The highest Rovanperä could realistically finish is fourth. That is unless somebody in the top three crashes out. We will continue to watch the development of tomorrow’s stages.
Day One Recap
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