Kalle Rovanperä admits: change to Toyota’s car is causing problems

Kalle Rovanperä maintained a steady pace on the first full day of the Rally de Portugal.
Kalle Rovanperä
Kalle Rovanperä. Photo by: Pentti-Oskari Ilmonen
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He “only” achieved one fastest stage time on Friday but arrived at the evening service leading the rally. Competition remained incredibly tight throughout the day, and by the end of the evening, the top four were separated by only five seconds.

Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier launched a strong attack on the final stage of the day, but Rovanperä managed to hold off his teammate by one second. This means that Rovanperä has the best possible starting position for Saturday among the top-tier drivers.

“The most important thing is that we stayed in the lead. Tomorrow will surely be a tough battle. We need to improve the car to keep up. Luckily, we now have the first chance to change it,” Rovanperä said to RallyJournal.com, referring to the Friday evening service.

Rovanperä was not entirely satisfied with his car during the day, noting that its setup clearly needed improvement.

“It was quite a battle with the car. The setup didn’t seem perfect for any of our team’s cars.”

“The balance hasn’t been good, which is evident from tyre wear. It only gets worse from there,” summarised Rovanperä.

Throughout the day, Rovanperä also struggled with the sweltering weather. Toyota changed the car’s livery to black this season, and Rovanperä’s co-driver Jonne Halttunen predicted before the season that in hot summer rallies, the black colour could cause added discomfort in the cabin.

Rovanperä confirmed this was accurate.

“The car was quite hot. It’s always been hot inside, and this year, the matte black colour doesn’t help matters,” Rovanperä stated.

The Rally de Portugal continues on Saturday with nine special stages.

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