The Saturday leg of Wales Rally GB was the longest and most challenging day of the rally with nine stages totalling 150.24 kilometres and no service in between. Only a tyre change zone after five stages allowed to put some new tyres on the rally cars. Necessary repairs or maintenance of the cars could only be made by the crews with the tools and spare parts they carried on board.
The nine stages of the day were classic Welsh forest roads, already in the past often used during Wales Rally GB. While Kalle Rovanperä is competing in Wales only for the second time, his competitors had much more knowledge of the stages. The day started as a wake up with the 20 kilometres of Myherin which were partially running over open fields spotted with wind turbines.
Kalle Rovanperä was fully awake on the opening stage of the day, setting the second quickest time ahead of teammate Pontus Tidemand and increased his WRC 2 lead to more than a minute. “It was neither a bad stage, nor a good one for me. We will see. I think it is going to be a nice fight today,” was his comment, which turned out to be a forecast for an interesting rally day. And the 18 years old Finn set the fastest time on the next stage ahead of Tidemand, who in turn managed to keep Ford driver Gus Greensmith behind. Setting a fastest time during the next test, the Swedish WRC 2 champion consolidated his second position. At the midday rest halt in Newtown, the ŠKODA works drivers Rovanperä and Tidemand held a double lead in the WRC 2 category.
During the afternoon leg, the sun came out and Kalle Rovanperä enjoyed the ride on the gravel roads. “Now it’s getting drier and we have much more grip than in the morning. But nevertheless, there are some slippery places where we have to be careful,” described the young Finn, who scored another two fastest times in WRC 2. In total he won 13 out of the 18 special stages until the end of day 3 of Wales Rally GB. After the Saturday marathon leg, he was 1.03 minutes in the category lead ahead of teammate Pontus Tidemand.
The final leg on Sunday (7 October) features five more stages covering 55.64 kilometres. The winner will reach the podium at the village of Llandudno at around 13h15 (local).
Standings Wales Rally GB after Day 3 (WRC 2)
1. Rovanperä/Halttunen (FIN/FIN), ŠKODA FABIA R5, 2:38:53.3 h
2. Tidemand/Andersson (SWE/SWE), ŠKODA FABIA R5, +1:03.1 min.
3. Greensmith/Gelsomino (GBR/ITA), Ford Fiesta R5, +1:48.6 min.
4. Huttunen/Linnaketo (FIN/FIN), Hyundai i20 R5, +2:49.8 min.
5. Lefebvre/Moreau (FRA/FRA), Citroën C3 R5, +3:44.8 min.
6. Loubet/Landais (FRA/FRA), Hyundai i20 R5, +4:43.6 min.
Number of the day: 13
In the WRC 2 category, ŠKODA youngster Kalle Rovanperä set 13 fastest times on the 18 stages of Rally Wales GB so far.
The calendar of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2)
Great Britain 04/10/–07/10/2018