Rovanperä, at home for his sixth victory of the year

Sports Writing, 3 Aug. The Finnish Kalle Rovanperä (Toyota GR Yaris), leader of the World Championship with a more than wide margin of 83 points, faces Rally Finland between Thursday and Sunday, the eighth round of the World Championship, with the aim of adding his sixth victory at home of the season and take another step towards the title.

Rovanperä, 21, is the great dominator of a championship in which he has won five of the seven races held, with two series of consecutive wins: Sweden-Croatia-Portugal and Sakari from Kenya-Estonia. The pilot is a native of Jyväskylä, the city where he is based for the formerly known as the 1,000 Lakes Rally, the fastest in the contest.

He has an 83-point lead over his closest rival, Belgian Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20). Further back, at 96, is his teammate, the British Elfyn Evans, at 98 the Estonian Ott Tänak (Hyundai i20), and at 102, the Japanese Katsuta Takamoto (Toyota GR Yaris).

“Rally Finland is of course a very special event for us, but I try to treat it and enjoy it like any other. I don’t feel as much pressure, because after our victories this year I don’t think we have anything to prove,” explains Rovanperä. in statements released by his team.

“Of course we will have great support from the fans and I would like to try to win for them if we can. Last year was not so easy for us, so we will try to do better this time,” said the Finn, recalling that in 2021 he finished in thirty-fourth place.

Known for its fast tracks with numerous jumps, Rally Finland returns this year to its traditional summer date for the first time since 2019. It has a total route of 1,414.77 kilometres, 323.38 of them corresponding to 22 special stages.

With 50% of the course changed from last year and 10% brand new, the rally starts on Thursday with a single 3.48km urban stage in the center of Jyväskylä and mixed surface called ‘Harju’. .

Friday continues with nine timed specials, including ‘Lankamaa’, the longest of the rally at 21.69 km and which, like the rest, is covered twice, in addition to a new passage through ‘Harju’, this time with 2.01 km.

The ‘Lankamaa’ stage returns to the test for the first time since 2017, when it was run in the opposite direction, passing very close to the farm where four-time world champion Juha Kankunnen grew up.

On Saturday there will be eight more stages with two passes of ‘Päijälä’ (20.19km) and the new ‘Rapsula’ (20.56) and ‘Vekkula’ (20.65) as main courses.

The race ends on Sunday with four specials, with ‘Oittila’ (10.84 km) and the big jumps of ‘Ruuhimäki’ (11.12) as protagonists. The second step through this is the bonus stage or ‘Power Stage’.

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