WRC: Arctic Rally Finland Day 3 Takeaways
A short final day saw the conclusion of the first WRC Arctic Rally, here are the key talking points from Day 3.
Kalle First Win a Matter of Time
What a weekend it was by Kalle Rovanpera, today in particular he was mighty impressive. A tantalising battle with Thierry Neuville on the two remaining stages, he was coming into the day in the stronger position, second place but only 1.8 seconds ahead, and today once again there was nothing to separate them. The first stage was advantage Kalle, just, beating Neuville by 0.1 seconds, giving the young Finn an advantage of just 1.9 seconds going into the powerstage. The powerstage was, as you would expect enthralling viewing, a back and forth in every split time meaning you never knew who would finish where. In the end, it was Rovanpera who prevailed, not only beating Neuville by 0.3 seconds, he also won the power stage resulting in all 5 extra points to go along with the 18 he received from his 2nd overall. Because of this result, Kalle has become the youngest driver ever to lead the world championship and will be going into Croatia first on the road for the first time. The possibilities are endless for him and I for one can't wait to see what's next.
Breen Impresses With PowerStage
This morning didn't start as well as Craig Breen would have liked, coming into the day in 4th and over 10 seconds ahead of Evans it felt as though he was relaxed and was just going to bring the car home. However, things changed after SS9 where Evans produced a mighty stage, winning the stage and taking 6.5 seconds out of the Irishman's advantage, leaving Breen with only a gap of 3.6 seconds and with his 4th place looking more precarious. In the powerstage Breen should everyone just what he is made of, producing one of the most impressive performances of the rally finishing the stage in second just 1 tenth off Rovanpera and making sure his 4th was safe. Considering he hadn't competed in the car since Estonia last year a 4th overall and 4 points in the power stage has to be considered an impressive result and proves why Hyundai has faith in him with that third car.
Solberg is Hollywood
If his father, Petter, was the original Mr Hollywood then his son Oliver is certainly Hollywood Jr. Today Solberg came into the day in a comfortable 6th and was eying up some power stage points. He ended the day in 7th and scored no extra points and yet not a single person has a bad way to say about him. And it is entirely justified, up until about half a KM from the end of the rally it looked as though he would finish 6th and claim at least a point, however, he was over-exuberant going into a corner and spun in a snowbank costing him vital seconds. Despite this nobody can criticise him, as he said he doesn't know when he will get the chance in a WRC car again so might as well go for it, and boy did he ever. At the end of the day, Solberg is money and he will have a long and successful career in the WRC. And that image of him thumping the steering wheel in anger whilst going flat out will forever be one of my favourite things.