Rovanpera crashes after violent rollover

The Toyota driver understeered through a fast left turn and drove wide into a ditch that sent the GR Yaris into a series of scary rolls before finally landing on its wheels.

The car sustained significant damage in the accident, but luckily both Rovanpera and co-driver Jonne Halttunen emerged from the wreck unharmed. The couple exited the vehicle through the front of the vehicle, where the windshield had been removed in the impact.

Rovanpera had led the rally after winning the day’s opening stage by 2.5 seconds over Toyota teammate Elfyn Evans, which took place in dry but slippery conditions.

However, en route to stage two, Rovanpera was forced to wait at the stage start line due to an unspecified delay. TV cameras picked up some loud voices from inside the car as the crew in car #69 appeared agitated by the delay.

Kalle Rovanpera, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Once underway, Rovanpera completed 9.2km of the 19.6km test before the accident happened. It’s unclear at this point if the car can be repaired to allow the pair to return to the rally tomorrow, but the GR Yaris appears to have sustained significant damage.

The crash ends a remarkable series of results for the 21-year-old Finn, who has built a 94-point lead in the championship over Hyundai’s Ott Tanak.

Up to this point, Rovanpera had finished every rally within the points, recording five wins in the process. His worst result was fifth place in Sardinia in June. The last time Rovanpera crashed at a WRC event was in Finland in October last year.

Rovanpera’s departure from the Ypres Belgium Rally has handed the lead to Toyota teammate Evans, who has a 1.2 second lead over Tanak.

Crews will complete eight stages today, punctuated by an intermediate service after Stage 4.

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