Kalle Rovanpera grabbed the victory in Rally Croatia, after an impressive performance on the Wolf Power Stage, with Ott Tanak and Thierry Neuville following second and third on the podium.
Although Kalle Rovanpera-Jonne Halttunen (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1) had a clear lead at the beginning of the third and final day, the rain of the penultimate special stage brought Ott Tanak-Martin Jarveoja (Hyundai i20 N Rally1) to the top.
Thus, the Estonians of Hyundai entered the Wolf Power Stage only 1.4" in front of the Finns of Toyota.
There, Rovanpera-Halttunen set a magical performance, achieving the fastest time and claiming victory, despite the disadvantage of their tyre choice. In this way, Rovanpera extended his lead in the Championship by 29 from second, Thierry Neuville.
At the same time, Toyota is now 42 points ahead of Hyundai in the Manufacturers' Championship.
The Estonian finished 2min 16.7sec clear of team-mate Thierry Neuville. The Belgian overhauled Craig Breen on the final morning to claim a podium despite he couldn’t follow the pace of Rovanpera and Tanak.
Breen survived an overshoot and a spin to take fourth in his Ford Puma. The Irishman fended off a closing Elfyn Evans, whose fifth place marked a first points finish of the year for the GR Yaris driver. Japan’s Takamoto Katsuta was a distant sixth in another Yaris.
The retirement of 5 Rally1 cars brought the top crews of Rally2 cars to the top of the rankings. Yohan Rossel-Valentin Sarreaud (Citroen C3 Rally2) proved to be the best of all, finishing 7th.
In the Junior WRC, the unexpected winners were Lauri Joona-Mikael Korhonen. The Finns started the day in third place, behind their compatriots Sami Pajari-Enni Malkonen and Estonians Robert Virves-Aleks Lesk.
Pajari-Malkonen retired on the second special stage, while the Estonians received a four-minute penalty for checking in early at the regroup prior to the Wolf Power Stage.