Evans wins Arctic Lapland Rally as Rovanpera suffers technical issue
The factory Toyota duo, consisting of Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanpera, participated in the snow rally to gain valuable driving experience with their GR Yaris Rally1 cars before the upcoming Rally Sweden. Evans emerged as the winner, with a lead of 5m02.3s over Finnish rally champion Mikko Heikkila, after Rovanpera encountered trouble and had to retire from the rally. Rovanpera and his co-driver Jonne Halttunen, who will begin their WRC partial season in Sweden, were leading the rally until a technical issue occurred on the final stage. Despite the setback, Rovanpera mentioned that the testing and mileage obtained during the rally were important in further understanding the car and its setup. Evans expressed the significance of gaining mileage on snow and ice, as it is a unique surface, and mentioned that there is still work to be done to fully adjust to the car. In addition to the factory team, Toyota’s WRC team principal, Jari-Matti Latvala, also participated in the rally, finishing 20th overall. Toyota’s WRC Challenge drivers, Hikaru Kogure and Yuki Yamamoto, secured ninth and tenth positions, respectively, in their GR Yaris Rally2 cars. Pierre-Louis Loubet, a former M-Sport WRC driver, triumphed in the Qatar International Rally, defeating Mads Ostberg in a Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 car by 4.6s.