Event report by FIA media staff
Kalle Rovanperä and co-driver Jonne Halttunen secured an emphatic victory at Rally Sweden on Sunday afternoon to take the lead in the FIA World Rally Championship.
Five different drivers led before the 21-year-old Finn took charge on snow and ice-coated roads. He won by 22.0sec after Toyota GR Yaris team-mate Elfyn Evans crashed out in a snowbank on the final morning and leads the series by 14 points after two of 13 rounds.
“I am really pleased. I didn’t think that we could be this good, especially starting first on the road on Friday. It was quite a bit job but I have to say I am really happy. The team did a great job and the car was working great all the time – I feel much more confident now.”
Thierry Neuville capitalised on Evans’ retirement to finish second in a Hyundai i20 N. Esapekka Lappi, back in the Toyota Gazoo Racing line-up after a three-year absence, was a further 8.6sec back in third in another GR Yaris.
Ott Tänak won the Wolf Power Stage to claim five bonus points in an i20 N. Rovanperä scored four points in second with Neuville taking three in third. Takamoto Katsuta secured two points in fourth in a GR Yaris, with Craig Breen netting the final point in a Ford Puma.
Norway’s Andreas Mikkelsen and Torstein Eriksen claimed the win in the FIA WRC2 category in a Toksport-entered Škoda Fabia Evo. That’s two wins from two rallies in 2022 – a brilliant start to his title defence.
“It’s been one of my best fights. Ole Christian has been doing a great rally. I know he has worked super hard over the last twelve months, so I am really happy for him to come here and deliver such a good result.”
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