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In one of the most notable triumphs in the history of the FIA World Rally Championship, Kalle Rovanperä emerged victorious at the ORLEN 80th Rally Poland on Sunday. The reigning world champion, who is participating in a selected programme of events in 2024, had not initially planned to compete in this rally. However, a last-minute call from his Toyota GAZOO Racing team saw him replace Sébastien Ogier, who had been sidelined by an accident during reconnaissance on Tuesday. This left Rovanperä and his co-driver Jonne Halttunen with less than 48 hours to prepare.

Despite the rushed preparations, Rovanperä managed to secure his 13th career victory in a GR Yaris Rally1, finishing 28.3 seconds ahead of his team-mate Elfyn Evans. This Toyota 1-2 result came after Hyundai rival Andreas Mikkelsen experienced difficulties on Sunday, dropping down the order.

Rovanperä began the final leg with a 9.4-second lead over Mikkelsen, but the Hyundai driver’s hopes for a second Rally Poland victory were dashed when he finished the opening stage with a tyre off the rim. Consequently, Mikkelsen fell to sixth place by the rally’s end, while M-Sport Ford’s Adrien Fourmaux claimed the third podium spot, finishing 14.4 seconds behind Evans.

Rovanperä reflected on the week, acknowledging the hard work and fatigue but emphasising the positive outcome for the team, which gained valuable points for the manufacturers’ championship.

The WRC’s summer schedule continues next month at Tet Rally Latvia, a new round for the championship, based in Liepāja from 18-21 July.