After Friday morning’s re-start, Kalle Rovanperä had problems to judge his speed. “It is really difficult. I don’t have any experience with these conditions. So it’s hard for me to know, if I am going fast or slow,” confessed the young Finn. He got the answer some minutes later when he realized, that he had set the fastest time among the R5 competitors.
On the next three stages, Rovanperä had to fight with heavy oversteering behaviour of his ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo. Nevertheless, he managed to reach the midday halt at the harbour of Alghero without any mistake. The ŠKODA engineers and mechanics modified the setup of his car for the afternoon stages. At this point, his teammates and last year’s class winners Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler were in the category lead. The Czech Champion confessed: “It’s like driving in a sauna. In the morning, we had outside temperatures exceeding 39 degrees – in the car it was even hotter!” ŠKODA Motorsport was in a solid double lead in the WRC 2 Pro category while the main rivals, Citroën driver Mads Østberg (technical issues) and’ Ford’s Gus Greensmith (accident), dropped down the leader board.
The afternoon saw the repetition of the morning stages, covered with deep ruts and loose stones during the second passage. Having his car fixed, Kalle Rovanperä set a stunning fastest time during the sixth stage and stormed into the lead among the R5 competitors. “It has been better this afternoon. Now the car feels right and I enjoyed the driving,” was his recap at the end of the Friday leg.
Jan Kopecký and Pavel Dresler also made it safely back to Friday’s final service at the harbour of Alghero, securing a double lead for ŠKODA Motorsport in the WRC 2 category separated by just 0.6 seconds from teammates. Among the initially entered 37 R5 cars, ŠKODA crews are currently holding the top four positions.
After an early wakeup at 5h20, the longest leg of the rally on Saturday starts with six special stages totalling more than 142 kilometres. Sunday will bring the final decision with four stages close to the coast north of the host town of Alghero.
Standings Rally Italia Sardegna after Day 2 (WRC 2 Pro)
1. Rovanperä/Halttunen (FIN/FIN), ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo, 1:39:02.8 h
2. Kopecký/Dresler (CZE/CZE), ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo, +0.6 sec.
3. Østberg/Eriksen (NOR/NOR), Citroën C3 R5, +10:35.1 min.
Number of the day: 39
On Friday morning at Rally Italia Sardegna, the outside temperature climbed to 39 degrees, turning the inside of the rally cars into moving saunas.
The calendar of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2 Pro)
Great Britain; 03/10/–06/10/2019