WRC Sweden Day 2: Lappi-Katsuta battle for victory, Solberg Surprises!

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A tumultuous day in Sweden with all eyes on the Lappi-Katsuta duel for the top spot.

The Rally Sweden witnessed a second day of trials characterized by breathtaking maneuvers and plenty of surprises that kept the overall standings uncertain until the last moment. At the end of this intense day, it’s Esapekka Lappi who holds the lead, piloting his Hyundai i20 rally1 with a narrow margin of just 3.2 seconds ahead of Japanese driver Takamoto Katsuta in the Toyota Yaris rally1. But the real surprise of the day was the extraordinary performance by Oliver Solberg in the Skoda Fabia RS rally2, securing the third position, trailing by 1 minute and 15.2 seconds.

The heavy snowfall between the first and second rounds of trials completely turned the tables, favoring the rally2 category cars, especially in the SS5 special stage. This stage will go down in rally history for two significant reasons: firstly, it marked the first WRC victory for the Toyota Yaris rally2, courtesy of the talented Estonian driver Georg Linnamae. Secondly, the top 5 positions in the stage were completely dominated by rally2 cars. Linnamae himself sits in sixth place overall, followed by Pajari (Toyota) in seventh, Korhonen (Toyota) in eighth, Heikkila (Toyota) in ninth, and Joona (Skoda) in tenth position.

Outside the top ten, Belgian driver Neuville had a tough day, encountering car problems that led to a 40-second penalty for arriving late at the start of SS5. Shortly after, he lost further precious seconds due to a collision with a snow wall. In the morning trial round, the rally witnessed the retirement of two big names, Ott Tanak and Kalle Rovanpera, adding further twists to the competition.

In the WRC2 category, it’s the Swedish driver Oliver Solberg who dominates the standings in the Skoda Fabia RS rally2, followed by Estonian Linnamae, who also leads in the WRC2 Challenge category, and Sami Pajari in the Skoda Fabia RS rally2. In the WRC3/J-WRC, young Swedish talent Mille Johansson leads the pack aboard his Ford Fiesta rally3.