SS11 Cronimet / Elva 2 – 11.72 km
Finnish crew Kalle Rovanperä / Jonne Halttunen made an excellent recovery on Saturday, as the pair was able to post the fastest time of the eleventh and final stage on the first full day of WRC in Estonia. The Toyota pair set the fastest time at 5:58.0, after a burst tire made them lose a significant amount of time in the third stage.
Estonian crew Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja in the Hyundai i20 Coupe posted the second fastest time on the roads of Elva, setting a time of 5:59.8 (+1.8). The local favorites capped off a dominant day, as they extended their lead in the overall rankings to 11.7 seconds.
Tänak said after a strong first day of stages: “I’ve been pushing a couple of stages to make a gap. This afternoon the middle sections were really rough. You gotta get through to win. Demanding and tricky day. Feel like i’ve done a whole rally.”
Tänak’s teammates Craig Breen / Paul Nagle also finished off a strong day, coming in with a time of 6:01.7, 3.7 seconds behind first-place Rovanperä / Halttunen.
Breen has been in excellent form and confidence throughout Saturday: “So far it’s been amazing. We had a small issue before the last one. Just really happy with how the day has been. I have to say the car has been a pleasure to drive from the first stage.”
The fastest five were rounded out by Takamoto Katsuta / Daniel Barritt (Toyota), who came in at 5.8 seconds slower (6:03.8) than Rovanperä.
SS11 Elva 2 (11.72 km): @SebOgier finishes a long day at #RallyEstonia in 3rd position overall and leading four #YarisWRC drivers in the top six.
With a stage win @KalleRovanpera moves ahead of @ElfynEvans for 4th place, and @TakamotoKatsuta is 6th.#ToyotaGAZOORacing #WRC pic.twitter.com/buukXlNoxE
— Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT (@TGR_WRC)
Tänak and Järveoja jumped to first in the overall rankings after the third stage, currently sitting atop with a time of 1:15:08.4. Their lead in front of Hyundai teammates Craig Breen / Paul Nagle extends to 11.7 seconds, with the Irish pair posting an overall time of 1:15:20.1.
The two top Hyundai crews are followed by two Toyota crews, Sebastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia at 1:15:37.1 (+28.7) and Finns Kalle Rovanperä / Jonne Halttunen at 1:15:43.3 (+34.9). The Finnish crew made an impressive recovery after losing a significant amount of time in the third stage after a burst tire.
Toyota crew Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin sit at fifth with a time of 1:15:43.3 (+34.9).
Hyundai held all podium positions until Thierry Neuville / Niclas Gilsoul experienced significant damage to the suspension of their car, forcing the Belgian crew to retire after six full stages.
Toyota crew Takamoto Katsuta / Daniel Barritt are sixth with a time of 1:10:06.5 (+57.9). Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm (Ford), who took the first official stage on Friday evening, sit at seventh in the overall standings with a time of 1:10:42.1, 1:33.5 back from Tänak / Järveoja.
SS10 Cramo / Mäeküla 2 – 14.76 km
Hyundai pair Craig Breen / Paul Nagle have gotten off to an excellent rally in Estonia, winning their second consecutive stage on the roads of Southern Estonia. The crew posted a time of 7:40.1, 0.7 seconds ahead of Kalle Rovanperä / Konne Halttunen (Toyota).
Craig Breen expressed great confidence after SS10: “Pressures are for tyres! So much fun driving the car. It’s the first time I’ve had a car working so well in the ruts. Struggled in the beginning, wasn’t in the rhythm.”
Brits Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin, also in the Toyota Yaris, came in third with a time of 7:42.5, 2.4 seconds back from Breen. Sebastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia, also in the Toyota finished with the fourth time on the roads of Mäeküla with a time of 7:43.7, 3.6 seconds back from first place.
Estonian driver Ott Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja in the Hyundai i20 Coupe finished fifth on the tenth stage of the rally event, four seconds behind teammate Craig Breen. The pair has cooled off a bit after a furious start, extending their overall lead to 13.8 seconds at one point. Tänak was focused when asked about the rally after the tenth stage, saying the most important thing is to finish strong.
SS9 Postimees / Otepää 2 – 9.30 km
The crew of Craig Breen / Paul Nagle are adding to Hyundai’s dominant Rally Estonia with an excellent performance on Southern Estonian roads, as the Irish pair posted the fastest time on the ninth stage of the WRC rally. Breen blasted through the roads of Otepää with a time of 5:00.4.
Breen was asked about the excellent results right after: “It’s just incredible! The car does everything that I expected /…/ something was flying around in my car, maybe my phone /…/ like an antigravity stage, incredible,” the Hyundai man praised.
Estonian Hyundai crew Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja came in second after their teammates with a time of 5:01.2, 0.8 seconds behind Breen and Nagle. The next closest time to Tänak was Kalle Rovanperä / Jonne Halttunen who posted a time of 5:03.6, 2.4 seconds back from Tänak and 3.2 seconds back from Breen in first.
Tänak, like Breen, was also praiseful of the Hyundai i20 Coupe: “This stage seems to suit the car, I had a clean stage. This event seems tricky for the tyres so we have to take care about that.”
Sebastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia in the Toyota Yaris finished fourth on the 9.30-km stage with a time of 5:03.8 (+3.4) and their teammates Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin finished with 5:04.0, back 3.6 seconds from Craig Breen.
Significant ruts have developed on the roads, with six-time world champion Ogier bringing attention to them after SS9: “It’s quite different rally than we expected, much more rutted. Good start, I have a damaged tyre so I have to be careful now.”
SS8 TREV-2 / Kanepi 2 – 16.88 km
Saaremaa-born reigning WRC champion Ott Tänak, along with co-driver Martin Järveoja are continuing their great performance at WRC Rally Estonia, taking the eighth stage of the total 17 with a time of 8:10.6.
Tänak and Järveoja are followed by Finnish Toyota crew Kalle Rovanperä / Jonne Halttunen, who posted a time of 8:13.9, 3.3 seconds slower than the Estonians.
Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin (Toyota) finish the top three, 3.8 seconds behind Tänak, followed by Hyundai crew Craig Breen / Paul Nagle (8:14.9, +4.3) and Sebastien Ogier / Julain Ingrassia (Toyota) with a time of 8:15,6 (+5.0).
Ott Tänak said after the stage that it is difficult to drive clean as the roads are quite rough. “Yeah, but it’s rough and many surprises. When some places surprise you then it’s difficult. We’re trying to be clean,” the reigning champion said.
SS7 Betsafe / Prangli 2 – 20.93 km
Toyota crew Sebastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia posted the fastest time of the seventh stage of a total of 17 with 9:45.3, six tenths faster than Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja (Hyundai).
Toyota drivers Kalle Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen finished third with a time of 9:47.9 (+2.6), followed by Craig Breen and Paul Nagle at 9:49.4 (+4.1).
Rovanperä said after the stage: “Conditions are not too bad, there are some really rough sections. In the small sections, where it’s rough, it’s scary to push. I will try to drive fast.”
Tänak’s teammate and third-place Thierry Neuville is out of the race after extensive damage to the suspension of his Hyundai i20 Coupe.
Looks like it’s game over for @thierryneuville after SS7 #RallyEstonia ????
Gutted for the belgian.. pic.twitter.com/Lu0gfvjRKF
— Rally Estonia (@RallyEstonia)
SS6 Sportland / Elva 1 – 11.72 km
Hyundai pair Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul posted the fastest time on the roads of Elva with a time of 6:05.1, Finnish Toyota crew Kalle Rovanperä / Jonne Holttunen posted a time of 6:05.8, seven tenths slower than Neuville. Rovanperä saw his rear tire burst on the third stage, after which the crew has returned at great pace.
Local heroes Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja (Hyundai) and Hyundai pair Sebastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia tied for third, both passing the stage with a time of 6:06.8, back 1.7 seconds from first place.
Tänak said in service: “I feel we are really back in action. Been a very challenging day, with the new stages it’s tricky to read the conditions. Grip is changing quite often. First stage we had a puncture and then we managed it through.”
Irishmen Craig Breen and Paul Nagle came in fifth, 2.1 seconds back from first pair of Neuville / Gilsoul.
The crews will now head to the service area for maintenance and a short break, WRC Rally Estonia will continue at 2.37 p.m. with SS7 in Prangli.
SS5 Tarfurgo / Mäeküla 1 – 14.76 km
Ogier was the first WRC driver on the Mäeküla roads, setting a time of 7:46.2. The time was fast enough to hold off all other competitors, as the six-time world champion, along with co-driver Julien Ingrassia, expectedly picked up the pace.
The French pair were followed by Finns Kalle Rovanperä / Jonne Halttunen with a time of 7:46.8, six tenths slower than Ogier. The Finns were rally leaders after the first two stages but dropped a significant amount of time after one of their rear tires burst on SS3.
Estonians Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja (Hyundai) finished third, a tenth slower than second-place Rovanperä and seven tenths back from Ogier. The reigning world champion pair posted a time of 7:46.9.
After winning two consecutive stages in dominant fashion, Tänak was asked about dropping some time to Ogier, his long-time rival. “What do you mean what happened? I lost only 0.7s from Ogier, there is no problem!”, Tänak quipped back to the reporter and drove off.
Tänak’s teammates Thierry Neuville / Niclas Gilsoul and Craig Breen / Paul Nagle finished fourth (7:48.2, +2.0) and fifth (7:48.8, +2.6).
SS5 ???????? #Tanak
⏱ 7:46.9 (+0.7)
▶ Third quickest through so far
“What do you mean what happened? I lost only 0.7s from Ogier, there is no problem!” #HMSGOfficial #RallyEstonia pic.twitter.com/Fs7kgUtJs1
— hmsgofficial (@HMSGOfficial)
SS4 LHV / Otepää – 9.3 km
Tänak and Järveoja are completely at home on Estonian roads as the Estonian pair wrapped up the fourth stage of the first ever WRC event held in Estonia. The Estonians posted a very fast time of 5:04.5 in Otepää.
Tänak said after the stage: “Some more mechanical grip, the first stage was tricky but after this it has been better.”
Irish driver Craig Breen, along with co-driver Paul Nagle, however put up an equally impressive stage, posting a time just a tenth slower than that of Tänak’s. Hyundai completed a hat-trick on the fourth stage as Thierry Neuville / Niclas Gilsoul finished third with 5:07.1, more than four seconds ahead of fourth-place pair Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin.
A rapid start to the morning on these fast Estonian roads! ????#Toyota #YarisWRC #ToyotaGAZOORacing #WRC #RallyEstonia pic.twitter.com/7eJg7qH8ML
— Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT (@TGR_WRC)
SS3 VIA 3L / Kanepi – 16.88 km
Tänak was in complete control of the third stage, opening a second lead after the first 4.4 km split of the stage, his lead by the third split had already reached 5.9 seconds. The Estonian pair finished with a time of 8:16.6, 5.6 seconds faster than Craig Breen / Paul Nagle in second.
Toyota pair Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin came in third with 8:22.9, followed by Tänak’s Hyundai teammates Thierry Neuville / Niclas Gilsoul, posting a time of 8:23.4.
Kalle Rovanperä / Jonne Holtunen (Toyota), the leaders of the rally after the first two stages, saw their rear tire burst and the pair finished 28.9 seconds after the Estonian leaders.
Rear-right damage for @KalleRovanpera in SS3.. sadly, that’s the lead gone as he’s 22.6 off Evans’ time.#WRC #RallyEstonia #VisitEstonia pic.twitter.com/60AHCUL2HT
— Rally Estonia (@RallyEstonia)
SS2 Ramudden / Prangli 20.93 km
Stage two of WRC Rally Estonia started at 7.40 a.m. Estonian time, with Sebastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Toyota) the first one on the roads. Ogier’s time of 9:55.6 was enough for sixth place on SS2, with Kalle Rovanperä / Jonne Halttunen (Toyota) taking the second stage in total.
Rovanperä / Halttunen posted a time of 9:52.1, also lifting them up to first in the overall rankings. The Finnish pair were followed by Hyundai drivers Craig Breen / Paul Nagle, with a time of 9:53.4. Toyota popped up twice in the top-3, with Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin posting a time of 9:54.2.
Local pair Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja, the first ever Estonians to capture the WRC season title, finished fourth at 9:54.9, followed by Thierry Neuville / Niclas Gilsoul (Hyundai) posting a time of 9:55.6.
Estonian junior driver pair of Georg Gross / Raigo Mölder, in the wheel of a Ford Fiesta WRC car, crashed just a kilometer into the second stage, finishing the young crew’s rally on Saturday morning, as the Ford was greatly damaged. Gross and his co-driver are OK.
#RallyEstonia SS2 Georg Gross Crash pic.twitter.com/gzM1AaEbiY
— Valmar Viisel (@paddocknews)
SS1 Visit Estonia / Tartu – 1.28 km
Stage one (of 17) started at 7.08 p.m. Estonian time Friday and was the final competitive event of the rally’s opening day.
Esapekka Lappi and co-driver Janne Ferm in the Ford Fiesta WRC together with six-time world champion Sebastien Ogier, and his co-driver in the Toyota Yaris Julien Ingrassia, together won the ultra-short 1.28-kilometer stage with a time of 1.17.0.
Lappi noted that stage one was just a foretaste of what is to come Saturday and Sunday. Stage two, for instance, is over 20 km in length.
“It didn’t feel that good to be honest! But yeah, this is not really what the stages will be tomorrow. We had a good shakedown and opening stage – looking forward [to it],” Lappi said, according to rally blog eWRC-Results.
Tänak and Martin Järveoja were third in the Hyundai i20 , 0.1 seconds behind the leading duo of cars, Tänak’s teammate, Irishman Craig Breen, was next up with co-driver Nagle Paul, 0.4 seconds behind the leaders, with Welshman Elfyn Evans and co-driver Martin Scott fifth in the Yaris with a time of 1.17.6. Japanese driver Katsuta Takamoto and his English co-driver Daniel Barritt came sixth in the Yaris.
Of stage one, Ott Tänak said that: “”It’s special – it’s a chance for us to start in a good way. It will be a tricky two days and the competition will be tight, so we need to make the best of it.”
Meanwhile, Sebastien Ogier said: “”It’s exciting for us and it’s good to be back and fighting. The car feels good, so let’s go for it.”
President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid was on hand to cheer on Estonian rally crew Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja.
Day two, stage two starts bright and early at 7.40 a.m., with the Prangli stage, close to the Põlva – Tartu county border.
The full Stage One results are below:
Friday, September 4: Shakedown stage
WRC Rally Estonia began with a test stage at Abissaare, with reigning world champion pair of Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja (Hyundai) posting the fastest time through the short warm-up for the rally itself.
Tänak’s time of 2:56.8 is considerably faster than second-place pair Sebastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Toyota), who posted a time of 2:58.2 on their fourth run.
Let’s get this rally started! ????#WRC #goOtt #RallyEstonia #OttTanak #TanakFanArmy #Rallying pic.twitter.com/OrgKZKOz7H
— Ott Tänak (@OttTanak)
Following the six-time world champion Ogier, are two Finnish pairs, Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm (M-Sport Ford) sit at third after the test stage with a time of 2:58.3. and the pair of Kalle Rovanperä / Jonne Halttunen (Toyota) posted a time of 2:58.4.
Tänak’s Hyundai teammates Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul rounded out the fastest five, finishing the test stage with a time of 2:58.6.
With Tänak, a total of five Estonians are in the fastest 25 drivers, as concurrent WRC2 and WRC3 rounds are also held.
The official start podium of WRC Rally Estonia will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday, with the first stage held in Tartu scheduled to start at 7.08 p.m. Estonian time.
Convoy of EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiestas on route to the @RallyEstonia start ceremony! Watch live on @OfficialWRC social media ???? #WRC #MSPORTERS #RallyEstonia pic.twitter.com/LYJHUhDpUt
— M-Sport (@MSportLtd)
ERR News will be covering the event over the weekend. Coverage of the event will also be broadcast on ETV:
Friday: 8 p.m., 9.30 p.m.
Saturday: 9.30 a.m., 9.20 p.m.
Sunday: 12.30 p.m. (Power Stage)
ERR News gathered all information about the event and the safety measures, available here. See also the event’s homepage.
First ever WRC round held in Estonia
The race will mark the return of the currently suspended WRC season and will make Estonia the 33rd country to host a WRC round after the series was started in 1973.
The first full calendar WRC event in Estonia will begin on Friday, September 4 and conclude with the finishing podium and award ceremony at 3.30 p.m. on Sunday.
A total of 17 special stages over 232.64 km are to be held, with 60 competitors registered in the entry list, of which 13 are top-class WRC cars and their crews.
The round will span three days and will be held in traditional Rally Estonia regions in Tartu and southern Estonia such as Kanepi, Kambja, Otepää and Elva, which hosted the warm-up South Estonia rally the weekend before last.
Reigning world champion Ott Tänak (Hyundai) is the obvious favorite for the historic event in Estonia, as the Saaremaa man looks to begin the season restart with a successful rally on his home roads. Tänak won the South Estonia Rally on July 24, effectively a warm-up event for WRC Rally Estonia.
The driver season standings are currently led by Frenchman Sebastien Ogier (Toyota) with 62 points, followed by Welshman Elfyn Evans (Toyota, 54 points) and Tänak’s teammate, Belgian Thierry Neuville (42 points). Tänak sits in fifth place with 38 points after crashing out in the opening event of the 2020 season in Monte Carlo.
A total of 60 crews registered for WRC Rally Estonia, with the full entry list available here.
The full organizer’s programme of the event is as follows:
Friday, September 4:
Saturday, September 5:
Sunday, September 6
Download the ERR News app for Android and iOS now and never miss an update!
This content was originally published here.