Rovanperä calls for better Toyota tire calls

WRC leader Rovanperä says his team needs to match Hyundai after weather call almost cost him Croatia Rally victory


World Rally Championship leader Kalle Rovanperä has called on his Toyota team to improve its weather data after it was outfoxed by Hyundai on the recent Croatia Rally.

Rovanperä had led the third round of this year’s WRC by 28.4 seconds over Hyundai rival Ott Tänak with two stages to go, but on the penultimate test he lost his lead as rain began to fall.

While Rovanperä managed to reclaim the lead and the win on the powerstage, his tire selection of four hards and two wets proved to be less effective than Tänak’s choice of four softs and two wet Pirellis.

Toyota team-mate Esapekka Lappi confessed “I don’t know where he [Rovanperä] pulled off those two wets first of all because it was very clear from our side that it’s full dry, so luckily he took them” but that underlined Rovanperä’s point that Toyota’s weather information wasn’t as accurate as Hyundai’s.

“I think that’s something we need to be more precise on,” Rovanperä told DirtFish.

“Clearly Hyundai are a bit better maybe with the rain because Thierry [Neuville] also, he was in the fight and he took a bit of a softer option, so we need to be more precise with that.

“It’s always something that we can be improving.”

Elfyn Evans, who took five hard tires on Sunday, agreed with his team-mate, revealing that all Toyota was “expecting” was “a small risk of some drizzle and some dampness”.

Tänak is aware too that Hyundai appeared to have an edge last time out in Croatia in terms of tires, but was keen to point out his i20 N Rally1 equipment wasn’t quite as fast as the GR Yaris Rally1.

“Definitely our tire choices were perfect, and we were always on the right tires, even compared to others,” he told DirtFIsh.

“It looked like Kalle was just following us in the end the last two days, it was very similar tires. But in the end, yes definitely they had the performance that we are lacking at the moment, and it’s something we need to improve on.”