Rovanperä romps to second Croatia stage win

Conditions got no easier on SS2, as the points leader made the most of being first on the road in the wet


Kalle Rovanperä has extended his Croatia Rally lead on SS2 with a second straight stage win, making the most of running first on the road.

While rain posed the biggest issue on the first test of the day, it was mist and visibility that were the major obstacles on the first run through Stojdraga – Gornja Vas, with drivers stating that the first two stages are some of the toughest they’ve ever experienced.

But with clean roads in front of him, Rovanperä set a 13m14.2s which extended his lead over Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville by a further 7.5 seconds to 11.6s.

Neuville’s team-mate Ott Tänak has managed to haul himself up into the top three, partly in thanks due to an error from Craig Breen.

M-Sport driver Breen went off on the stage, going up a grass track and narrowly avoiding a fire hydrant. He was able to reverse the car back out on to the road, and escaped unscathed, but it cost him a considerable amount of time.


“Unfortunately the left corner tightened up, a little bit of mud on it,” said Breen.

“I could have made, I could have just fired it in, but there was a curb on the outside and I just chose to go straight on and reversed back again.

“So probably dropped 10-12s, something like that. So time would have been not so bad I think. Obviously the road is getting very, very bad as each car passes.”

His team-mate Gus Greensmith had a very difficult second stage, losing over half a minute, but it wasn’t enough to cost him any positions and he retains fifth, while the third Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid driver Adrien Fourmaux consolidated sixth position.

Hyundai’s Oliver Solberg is still seventh, but had a better run through the 12.9-mile stage to close the gap to Fourmaux down to 7.9s, while Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta is in eighth position.


Elfyn Evans recovered from his difficult first test to end up fifth fastest on SS2, lifting him to ninth overall, but he is already 1m47.7s back rom Rovanperä.

But, while Evans is on the road to recovery, M-Sport’s Pierre-Louis Loubet’s day has gone from bad to worse.

He suffered with a double puncture on SS1, and lost two minutes on the second test with another puncture. That left him 3m20.7s away from the points positions, with 10th place currently held by Rally2 runner Yohan Rossel, but he has now retired from the rally.

SS2 times

1 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota) 13m14.2s
2 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai) +7.5s
3 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai) +17.3s
4 Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (M-Sport Ford) +27.0s
5 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota) +27.7s
6 Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson (Hyundai) +31.5s
7 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota) +32.7s
8 Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (M-Sport Ford) +33.1s
9 Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (M-Sport Ford) +34.4s
10 Yohan Rossel/Valentin Sarreaud (Citroën) +1m02.5s

Leading positions after SS2

1 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota) 25m58.8s
2 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai) +11.6s
3 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai) +33.5s
4 Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (M-Sport Ford) +40.0s
5 Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (M-Sport Ford) +59.9s
6 Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (M-Sport Ford) +1m08.5s
7 Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson (Hyundai) +1m16.4s
8 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota) +1m24.3s
9 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota) +1m47.7s
10 Yohan Rossel/Valentin Sarreaud (Citroën) +2m03.5s