Rovanperä fastest on Rally Sweden shakedown

Mixed fortunes at several teams as Katsuta and Neuville 'eat snow' but their team-mates excel


Kalle Rovanperä shaded Ott Tänak on a tricky shakedown stage for the newly Umeå-based Rally Sweden.

Tänak set the pace on the opening run of the 4.72-mile stage but Rovanperä responded to top the times after the second pass and duly stayed there after all the Rally1 crews had completed their mandatory three runs; setting the pace by a slender 0.3 seconds.

It was an impressive shakedown for Hyundai, which struggled for pace and reliability on the Monte Carlo Rally last month.

Despite a disastrous first run where he lost five minutes stuck in a snowbank, Thierry Neuville was third fastest in his i20 N Rally1, 0.8s adrift of Rovanperä’s Toyota GR Yaris Rally1, while Oliver Solberg was eighth fastest, setting the same time as Toyota’s Elfyn Evans.

Several drivers suffered costly moments as times varied wildly throughout the various runs.

Takamoto Katsuta’s was the most severe though as he “ate some snow” according to a Toyota source and needed to be collected by a trailer from the road section after his first run.

But when Katsuta did eventually make it back to the shakedown stage he was rapid, going fourth fastest and just 0.4s down on Neuville.

Craig Breen was the quickest of the Ford Puma Rally1s in fifth, 0.4s up on team-mate Gus Greensmith but 2.3s off the pace.

Both M-Sport drivers set their best time at their fourth attempt and were the only leading competitors to have a fourth stab at the test.


Evans and Solberg’s best time was 0.3s poorer than Greensmith but equally 0.3s up on Esapekka Lappi who is competing in a Rally1 car for the first time this weekend in the absence of Sébastien Ogier.

Adrien Fourmaux completed the top 10 some five seconds slower than Lappi and 7.6s shy of the ultimate pace.

Shakedown results

1 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota) 3m22.4s
2 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai) +0.3s
3 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai) +0.8s
4 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota) +1.2s
5 Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (M-Sport Ford) +2.3s
6 Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (M-Sport Ford) +2.7s
7 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota) +3.0s
8 Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson (Hyundai) +3.0s
9 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota) +3.3s
10 Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (M-Sport Ford) +8.3s