Rally de Portugal: Day 3
Rovanperä repeats full Portugal haul with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team’s Kalle Rovanperä is back on top of the FIA World Rally Championship after a dominant drive to win the Rally de Portugal for the second year in succession.
The victory is the first of the season for reigning world champions Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen, and moves them to the head of the standings by 17 points after they also won the rally-ending Fafe Power Stage – repeating the maximum score they achieved on the same event one year ago. It is also the fourth time in a row that TGR-WRT has won in Portugal, and the team’s fourth victory from five rounds in 2023.
Rovanperä built his result on a strong performance on Friday’s opening day while running second in the road order on the loose gravel stages. He led by 10.8 seconds at the end of the day, and stunning speed on Saturday morning then allowed him to move over 50s clear.
On Sunday he recorded his ninth stage win of the weekend in the first pass over the famous fan-favourite Fafe test, before making it 10 when he returned there for the Power Stage – setting the quickest time by 0.717s while sealing the rally victory by 54.7s.
Takamoto Katsuta and co-driver Aaron Johnston set the fourth-fastest time in the Power Stage to bank additional points for the manufacturers’ championship, which the team continues to lead by 32 points. Katsuta had to stop on Friday morning with a technical issue but could restart on Saturday and took a stage win of his own in Sunday’s first stage.