Sweden WRC: Evans closing on victory as first Sunday stage cancelled

Anna Duxbury
Autosport
Evans closing on win as first Sunday stage cancelled
Evans closing on win as first Sunday stage cancelled

Toyota World Rally Championship driver Elfyn Evans has extended his Rally Sweden lead to 16.9 seconds after winning all three of Saturday morning's stages.

Evans started the day with an 8.5s advantage over the Hyundai of Ott Tanak but managed to double that lead, making the most of the tricky terrain in the warmer weather.

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With confirmation that Sunday's first running of the Likenas stage will not go ahead due to the unusually temperate conditions, Tanak has less than 15 competitive miles on which to catch Sweden's runaway leader.

Behind the leading duo, Evan's Toyota team-mates Kalle Rovanpera and Sebastien Ogier continued to battle for third position - with Ogier closing the gap to the 19-year-old to a tenth of a second on the day's opening stage.

The six-time champion then went on to eclipse Rovanpera on Finnskogen to take third position after a set-up change, though a set-up change of his own for Rovanpera to protect his tyres allowed the Finn to reclaim third on the next stage.

He now has 1.3s in hand over Ogier.

M-Sport's Esapekka Lappi held on to fifth, ahead of Hyundai's Thierry Neuville, despite a small mistake on Nykelvattnet, meaning he will start Saturday afternoon's one remaining stage five seconds ahead of the Hyundai driver.

Craig Breen remains in seventh on his first WRC outing of 2020, ahead of the second M-Sport of Teemu Suninen.

Suninen is 25s down on the Irishman after a difficult morning in the unpredictable conditions.

Takamoto Katsuta is ninth in the fourth Toyota, while Jari-Matti Latvala retired his privateer Toyota entry before Saturday's running due to engine issues.

WRC3 leader Jari Huttunen sits 10th, while Mads Ostberg is the WRC2 frontrunner in 12th.

Leading positions after seven stages

Pos

Driver

Team

Car

Gap

1

Elfyn Evans, S.Martin

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Toyota

58m55.7s

2

Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja

Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT

Hyundai

16.9s

3

Kalle Rovanpera, J.Halttunen

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Toyota

28.0s

4

Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Toyota

29.3s

5

Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm

M-Sport Ford WRT

Ford

35.1s

6

Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul

Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT

Hyundai

40.0s

7

Craig Breen, P.Nagle

Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT

Hyundai

48.1s

8

Teemu Suninen, J.Lehtinen

M-Sport Ford WRT

Ford

1m14.0s

9

Takamoto Katsuta, D.Barritt

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Toyota

1m37.3s

10

Jari Huttunen, M.Lukka

Jari Huttunen

Hyundai

3m35.9s


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