Toyota WRC driver Kalle Rovanperä has topped shakedown at Rally Sweden ahead of the rally’s start later this evening. Hyundai’s Esapekka Lappi missed the top spot by just one-tenth of a second.
Rovanperä was the first driver to tackle Thursday’s shakedown as championship leader Sébastien Ogier doesn’t compete in Sweden this weekend.
The reigning world champion’s first run was good enough for P5, 3.3 seconds off Lappi who led the field after the first run.
The road position is expected to be crucial this weekend with ruts and loose snow expected to be a disadvantage for the first runners through a stage, with the grip for later runners to be better in theory.
Rovanperä improved to P2 after the second pass but was still 2.5s shy of Lappi’s pace. Lappi elected to do his third and final run immediately after completing his second run and improved his time by a further 3 tenths.
During the final runs, only Rovanperä managed to pip Lappi, with the Toyota driver completing the 5.45 km stage one-tenth faster than fellow Finn Lappi.
Takamoto Katsuta, competing for Toyota’s main squad this weekend for the first time, set the third-fastest time, just 0.2s behind Lappi. Elfyn Evans made it 3 Toyotas in the top 4 as he made a big improvement in his final (fourth run). The Welshman completed shakedown 0.6s adrift of Katsuta.
Craig Breen completed the top 5 in shakedown, 0.4s behind Evans and 1.8s ahead of his team-mate Thierry Neuville. Ott Tänak was the leading M-Sport Ford in shakedown in P7 and headed his team-mate Pierre Louis Loubet by 1.8 seconds. Loubet and Evans were the only Rally1 drivers to complete four shakedown runs.
WRC2 drivers Oliver Solberg and Ole Christian Veiby rounded off the top 10 in shakedown. Lorenzo Bertelli, who competes with a Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 this weekend, completed shakedown in P16 overall.
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The rally gets underway this evening at 19:05 (local time CET, 18:08 BST) with a short opening stage in the city of Umeå. Tomorrow, two loops of three stages are followed by a re-run of tonight’s Umeå stage, making it seven stages in total tomorrow.
WRC Rally Sweden 2023 – Shakedown results
|#||Drivers||Car||Time / Diff. to 1st|
|1.||Rovanperä / Halttunen||Toyota GR Yaris Rally1||2:50.9|
|2.||Lappi / Ferm||Hyundai i20 N Rally1||+0.1|
|3.||Katsuta / Johnston||Toyota GR Yaris Rally1||+0.3|
|4.||Evans / Martin||Toyota GR Yaris Rally1||+0.9|
|5.||Breen / Fulton||Hyundai i20 N Rally1||+1.3|
|6.||Neuville / Wydaeghe||Hyundai i20 N Rally1||+3.1|
|7.||Tänak / Järveoja||Ford Puma Rally1||+3.5|
|8.||Loubet / Gilsoul||Ford Puma Rally1||+5.3|
|9.||Solberg / Edmondson||Skoda Fabia RS Rally2||+10.5|
|10.||Veiby / Eriksen||Volkswagen Polo GTI R5||+10.8|
Photo: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC