Kalle Rovanperä was unreachable on the first day of Rally Croatia 2022
Rally Croatia 2022 did not start well for two of the leading drivers. In the first stage Evans Elfyn / Martin Scott Toyota GR Yaris Rally1, losing one minute and twenty seconds.
Lappi Esapekka / Ferm Janne Toyota Yaris Rally1 destroyed their suspension and remained out of the race.
Greensmith Gus / Andersson Jonas Ford Puma Rally1 went off the track, but they were lucky and lost only 25 seconds.
The column was led by Rovanperä K. / Halttunen Jonne (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1), followed by Neuville T. / Wydaeghe M. (Hyundai i20 N Rally1).
A cold and wet track welcomed the competitors in Croatia. But that was not the biggest problem. The flat tires from the first stage were too many, but after the second they became frightening.
Loubet Pierre-Louis / Landais Vincent burst 3 tires in the stage.
In addition to flat tires, many accidents, including the Fourmaux Adrien / Coria Alexandre in stage 3.
After the first service today, the start was Rovanperä K. / Halttunen Jonne (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1), with a lead of 12.5 seconds over Neuville T. / Wydaeghe M. (Hyundai i20 N Rally1).
A 40-second penalty on Thierry Neuville in the fifth stage gave Rovanperä a very comfortable lead.
Here is how Neuville describes its problems: We had an alternator issue earlier today and we changed the belt, but we lost it again on the way to service. 800m before service the car completely stopped and we had to push it. It was a tricky stage in here and I couldn't rely on the information I had, so I had to drive with my eyes.
In the next 6th stage, Tänak Ott / Järveoja M. (Hyundai i20 N Rally1) moved Neuville from second place.
In difficult conditions, a very dirty track and in combination with fog allowed Neuville to regain second place.
At the end of Day 1 of Rally Croatia, Rovanperä K. / Halttunen Jonne (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1) led by 1:04.0 ahead of Neuville T. / Wydaeghe M. (Hyundai i20 N Rally1). The third position is for Tänak Ott / Järveoja M. (Hyundai i20 N Rally1) at 1:23.3. In the battle for third place tomorrow will be Breen Craig / Nagle Paul (Ford Puma Rally1), who are 1:35.2 of the drivers.
First in RC2 and 9th in the overall standings are Rossel Yohan / Sarreaud V. (Citroën C3 Rally2).
A total of 8 stages are scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday, April 23.