Kalle Rovanperä has incurred a one-minute time penalty following the conclusion of Rally Estonia’s Saturday stages, dropping him from fourth to sixth ahead of Sunday’s final leg.
The penalty was for a breach of parc ferme rules inside a time control when co-driver Jonne Halttunen removed the radiator blanking plate from the front of the pair’s Toyota Yaris WRC.
The offence occurred on SS10, the penultimate stage of the day.
Halttunen told event stewards that he was concentrating on the timecard procedure at the controls when he realized the blanking plate hadn’t been removed.
Leaping out in a panic he removed the item, but this is against the rules when inside the control and the time penalty was sanctioned.
The radiator blanking plate is normally removed by the crews on the road section before the time control.
Rovanperä had been set for a strong weekend in Estonia, taking the lead on Saturday’s first stage to become the youngest driver to ever lead a round of the World Rally Championship.
But a tire delaminated on the next step, costing him close to 30 seconds as he dropped to eighth.
He fought back throughout the rest of Saturday and managed to snatch fourth place from team-mate Elfyn Evans on Saturday’s final speed test.
However the minute penalty drops him behind Evans and Takamoto Katsuta who has been promoted to fifth.
Rovanperä will start Sunday 1m34.9s away from the lead and just 6.8s ahead of Esapekka Lappi’s M-Sport Ford.