Only 8.8 seconds are separating Toyota’s GAZOO Racing World Rally Team’s three drivers at Rally Sweden’s start. Elfyn Evans, Kalle Rovanperä, and Esapekka Lappi took turns leading the GR YARIS Rally1 on the fast, snow-covered roads.
On the second of the day’s seven stages, Kamsjön, the longest weekend test at 27.81 kilometres, Lappi claimed a stage win and the rally lead. This is Lappi’s first event under the team’s colours since 2018.
Rovanperä then took the lead in SS3 but had to make new tracks for his competitors when running first on the road in the afternoon loop.
By winning SS4, Evans reclaimed the lead and held it until the last test, when he lost time due to tyre damage.
SS7 was Rovanperä’s final stage of the day, and he won it again to finish second overall, just 4.3 seconds behind the winner. Another 3.1s separates third-placed Evans from fourth-placed Lappi.
Takamoto Katsuta is sixth in his TGR WRT Next Generation car, one of four GR YARIS Rally1 cars in the top six.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team leads Rally Sweden with one day remaining following a good performance with the GR YARIS Rally1 on Saturday’s first stage. Esapekka Lappi is still in contention for a podium spot, but teammate Kalle Rovanperä is in the lead by 8.3 seconds.
On Friday night, the top four were separated by just 8.8s, and that deficit narrowed to just 3.2s following the first of Saturday’s six stages. Reigning overall champion Rovanperä took the lead back with a stage win on high-speed Lnged following Evans’s Toyota lock-out of the top four positions on the Brattby stage.
Moving up to second place after the first pass over Lnged, Evans took the second repeat of Brattby and closed to within 1.2 seconds of Rovanperä, who replied by establishing the best time in the dark on the second pass. Finishing in Umea, Finland, Rovanperä secured his second stage victory of the day, extending his lead in the overall standings.
During his first appearance for the squad in 2018, Lappi maintained a high level of performance and finished the morning loop in the top three of the overall rankings. He ended the day 4.2 seconds behind the third-place finisher.
With Takamoto Katsuta moving up to fifth after a solid day in his TGR WRT Next Generation car, there are four GR YARIS Rally1 drivers in the top five.