Kalle Rovanpera finished Saturday 29.1s ahead of teammate Elfyn Evans to assert his dominance over his rivals. Rovanpera won seven of the nine stages as Evans and Ott Tanak offered no response to the Finn’s speed.
Showers mixed with sunshine offered a challenge to the field in the morning but despite a slow start on the opening test, Kalle would go on a hattrick of stage wins afterwards. “I Had a really bad stage, I was losing seconds everywhere and wasn’t happy with my run at all” he went on: “I was not so awake as I normally am and not where I wanted to be, but the last two stages were nice”
Some trepidation from Evans in the tricky conditions meant that he never got confident enough to attack his teammate. Ott Tanak ran a consistent day with three top three times in the morning to cement himself in third place heading into the final day.
The Hyundai driver was followed by Thierry Neuville after a drama-free day. Neuville trailed Tanak by 70s after gaining fourth place from Esapekka Lappi. Lappi had to conduct a wheel change following a heavy landing after a jump.
Behind Neuville was the other Toyota of Takamoto Katsuta. The Japanese driver took fifth from Ford runner, Adrien Fourmaux and gapped the Frenchman by 10.9s.
Lappi would fall to seventh after his wheel change but would go onto a big charge to close the gap to Fourmaux by 30s. Lappi has a 41.5s target for the final day if he is to usurp the Ford man.