Rally Sweden: ŠKODA Motorsport’s Kalle Rovanperä finishes second in WRC 2 Pro

Rally Sweden: ŠKODA Motorsport’s Kalle Rovanperä finishes second in WRC 2 Pro

› Despite a lack of experience at their first Rally Sweden Kalle Rovanperä and co-driver

Jonne Halttunen (ŠKODA FABIA R5) finished second in the WRC 2 Pro category

› ŠKODA and Rovanperä are currently second overall in the WRC 2 Pro standings

› On the 19 stages of Rally Sweden, second round of the 2019 FIA World Rally

Championship, Rovanperä scored 14 fastest times in the WRC 2 Pro category

Torsby, 17 February 2019 – ŠKODA works crew Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (FIN/FIN)

experienced mixed emotions during their very first participation in Rally Sweden (14/02/–

17/02/2019). At the second round of the FIA World Rally Championship, they lost all chances

of a possible category victory as they had to pay greenhorns’ tax for two time-consuming

visits to snowbanks. Nevertheless, despite their lack of experience of the fast snow tracks in

the Swedish and Norwegian forests, they scored valuable points for second place in WRC 2

Pro. They are also currently second overall in the category standings. Their Finnish

compatriots Eerik Pietarinen/Juhana Raitanen had even more of bad luck. They hit a stone

during the last stage and had to retire from fourth position with a broken rim.

Rally Sweden provided the most difficult weather and road conditions since years. One week

before the event, everything seemed to be perfect. Snow and sub-zero temperatures created a

winter wonderland with a solid layer of ice on the fast and winding forest tracks in the Swedish and

Norwegian forests. But during the days before the start, it was getting warmer turning the surface in

some places into gravel roads with melting slushy snow and deep ruts. That effected proceedings

especially during the respective second run of the stages.

ŠKODA works driver Kalle Rovanperä and co-driver Jonne Halttunen started well into the rally,

scoring the fastest time on the second stage and taking the lead in the WRC 2 Pro category. But

one stage later, the ŠKODA FABIA R5 spun into a snow bank and needed the help from spectators

to get back onto the road again. However, their race to catch up brought them back to second place

in the category already until Friday evening. Fellow Finns Eerik Pietarinen/Juhana Raitanen, having

rolled their ŠKODA FABIA R5 on the same stage, escaped to fourth after the Friday leg.

On Saturday, Kalle Rovanperä was setting three fastest times in WRC 2 Pro and reduced the gap

to category leader Mads Østberg by more than 18 seconds to 1:12.7 minutes. Eerik Pietarinen, who

had been nominated by ŠKODA Motorsport to score WRC 2 Pro manufacturer points, was still

fourth, 2:03 Minutes adrift of third placed Gus Greensmith. After the midday service halt, Kalle

Rovanperä set another fastest time but one stage later, he ran out of luck and off the road. Another

visit to a snow bank costed him 2:48 minutes in relation to the fastest WRC 2 Pro stage time of

ŠKODA team mate Eerik Pietarinen. For Rovanperä the fight for the category victory was over and

from then on it was all about bringing the car back to the finish to secure valuable points for second

place in the WRC 2 Pro category. During the remaining three stages of the day, he set all fastest

times in the category.

The Sunday finally brought back best winter conditions for the remaining three stages, and Kalle

Rovanperä set two more fastest times in the WRC 2 pro category. “I am trying to take it easy and

avoid mistakes,” was his comment. In total Rovanperä set 14 fastest times in the WRC 2 Pro

category. Without the time-consuming visits to snow banks, a category victory could have been

possible on his first appearance at Rally Sweden. Nevertheless, despite their lack of experience of

the fast snow tracks in the Swedish and Norwegian Forests, they scored valuable points for the

second place in WRC 2 Pro. Also, they are currently second overall in the interim category

standings. Eerik Pietarinen and co-driver Juhana Raitanen had more bad luck and hit a stone

during the last special stage. They had to retire from fourth with a broken rim.

ŠKODA Motorsport boss Michal Hrabánek commented: “I am satisfied with Kalle’s performance. He

has been at Rally Sweden for the very first time and showed again his potential against much more

experienced competitors.”

Final Results Rally Sweden (WRC 2 Pro)

1. Østberg/Eriksen (NOR/NOR), Citroën C3 R5, 2:55:54.5 h

2. Rovanperä/Halttunen (FIN/FIN), ŠKODA FABIA R5, +3:19.2 min.

3. Greensmith/Edmondson (GBR/GBR), Ford Fiesta R5, +4:48.9 min.

4. Pieniazek/Heller (POL/POL), Ford Fiesta R5, +57:02.2 min.

Current championship standings WRC 2 Pro drivers (after two of 14 rounds)

1. Gus Greensmith (GBR), Ford, 40 points

2. Kalle Rovanperä (FIN), ŠKODA, 36 points

3. Mads Østberg (NOR), Citroën, 25 points

4. Lukasz Pieniazek (POL), Ford, 12 points

Current championship standings WRC 2 Pro manufacturers (after two of 14 rounds)

1. Ford, 40 points

2. ŠKODA, 36 points

3. Citroën, 25 points

Number of the day: 14

During the 19 special stages of Rally Sweden, ŠKODA works driver Kalle Rovanperä scored 14

fastest times in the WRC 2 Pro category.

5T he calendar of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2 Pro)

Event Date

Monte-Carlo 24/01/–27/01/2019

Sweden 14/02/–17/02/2019

Mexico 07/03/–10/03/2019

France 28/03/–31/03/2019

Argentina 25/04/–28/04/2019

Chile 09/05/–12/05/2019

Portugal 30/05/–02/06/2019

Italy 13/06/–16/06/2019

Finland 01/08/–04/08/2019

Germany 22/08/–25/08/2019

Turkey 12/09/–15/09/2019

Great Britain 03/10/–06/10/2019

Spain 24/10/–27/10/2019

Australia 14/11/–17/11/2019

ŠKODA Motorsport Overview

2018 was the most successful year in the history of ŠKODA Motorsport so far. Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (CZE/CZE)

became WRC 2 champions and managed to win the Czech Rally Championship (MČR) for the fourth consecutive time.

2017 WRC 2 winners Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson finished second overall, and youngsters Kalle Rovanperä/

Jonne Halttunen (FIN/FIN) completed a pure ŠKODA podium in the final standings of the 2018 FIA World Rally

Championship’s WRC 2 category. For the fourth time in a row ŠKODA Motorsport won the WRC 2 Championship for

Teams.

The success story of the Czech brand took place worldwide. The private ŠKODA driver Yuya Sumiyama and navigator

Takahiro Yasui from Japan won the 2018 FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), Manvir Singh Baryan/Drew

Sturrock (KEN/GBR) took the title win in the FIA African Rally Championship (ARC). After winning the FIA South

American Rally Championship (CODASUR) in 2013, 2016 and 2017, ŠKODA crew Gustavo Saba/Fernando Mussano

(PRY/ARG) again were successful. On top of that, ŠKODA crews won 17 national championships.

The ŠKODA FABIA R5, a high-tech 4x4, was homologated by the International Automobile Federation FIA on 1 April

2015. ŠKODA’s new FABIA R5 is successfully continuing the long tradition of ŠKODA Motorsport. Its predecessor, the

FABIA SUPER 2000, won 50 national and international titles around the world.

ŠKODA has been successful on the motorsport scene since 1901. Be it on the circuit or in rallies, ŠKODA has

celebrated victories and won titles all around the world. Historical highlights include winning the title in the FIA World

Rally Championship (WRC 2) for the first time in 2016, numerous title wins in the FIA European Rally Championship

(ERC), the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) and the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), as well as the

victory in the European Touring Car Championship in 1981. ŠKODA teams have also triumphed in the world’s oldest

and most famous rally, taking several class victories in the legendary Monte Carlo, which was first held in 1911.

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