Finland’s Kalle Rovanperä (Toyota) set the fastest shakedown time for Rally Greece in the 4.25-kilometer special on Thursday morning near Lamia.
The 20-year-old Finn, winner in Estonia, set the fastest time on his first of three runs, after an unusually muddy course more reminiscent of Rally Britain than in the hot and dusty conditions of the meeting. you Greek, back on the program for the first time since 2013.
He was 2.7 seconds ahead of Thierry Neuville (Hyundai). The Belgian, in the wake of his success at Ypres, preceded his teammates Ott Tänak and Dani Sordo, who failed respectively 3.2 and 4.0 from Rovanperä.
“Glad to be here but we weren’t expecting such conditions during this reconnaissance. Let’s see if the weather improves in order to have better conditions for the race, “said the Saint-Vithois.
The two other Toyota drivers, the Briton Elfyn Evans and the Frenchman Sébastien Ogier, leader of the championship, took the 5th and 6th places.
The rally’s first special is scheduled for Thursday evening in the streets of Athens around the parliament. Three days of competition will follow around Loutraki and Lamia before the finish on Sunday afternoon after fifteen specials totaling 292.19 kilometers timed.
The Japanese Takamoto Katsuta (Toyota), 6th in the championship, is absent in Greece because his British co-driver Keaton Williams had to return home for family reasons. Katsuta’s usual co-driver Dan Barritt has suffered a back injury since Rally Estonia. Williams had replaced him in Ypres.
In the event of a thunderstorm, wind gusts could reach 60 km / h or even more locally.
This event was organized this Thursday afternoon in Trento, Italy, over a course of 22.4 km. Switzerland’s Stefan Küng won.
The Briton will join the Mercedes team next year alongside Lewis Hamilton. How will the cohabitation between the seven-time world champion and this hope happen? Side transfers, it remains to allocate a wheel at Williams.
After five seasons of loyal service at Mercedes, the nice Finn will be replaced by George Russel, a very talented young British wolf. Not sure Lewis will like it. At Williams, we are talking about the arrival of Nick De Vries, world champion in Formula E.
The 70,000 spectators of the Dutch Grand Prix gathered in Zandvoort reserved an extraordinary ovation for the native of the country. Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes dropped to one knee. The title battle has reached new heights.