Rally Sweden 2024 – Saturday’s Report

The second full day of competitive stages in Sweden would see the crews tackle 126km’s over seven stages. Ott Tanak and Kalle Rovanperä returned to the action and the Estonian would open the road.

First up was SS9 Vännäs 1 – 15.65 km and Ott was fastest from Elfyn, who was looking to close the gap to Oliver and Adrien who held third and fourth ahead of the Welshman before the stage. Adrien passed Oliver for third overall in this one. At the front of the field, Takamoto had a small nibble of time from EP, the gap now just nine tenths of a second between the leading pair of cars. In WRC2 Oliver was fastest from Sami and Mikko and the young Swede continued to lead Georg and Sami who held second and third place respectively in the category.

Into SS10 Sarsjöliden 1 – 14.23 km, and Kalle was fastest from Ott and Elfyn was third. The Welshman’s pace took him ahead of Oliver and into third place, whilst Adrien was also on the move up and gained second place. This was due to Takamoto sadly sliding out of second place after getting stuck in a snowbank. He and Aaron tried to dig the car out, but it was to no avail. They were out for the rest of the day. EP remained in the lead and had a huge lead of a minute and a half. In WRC2 Oliver was leading and Georg remained in second with Sami still third.

Next up, SS11 Bygdsiljum 1 – 28.06 km was won by an inspired Adrien from Thierry and Elfyn. The Frenchman increased his lead over Elfyn to 16.2 seconds. Meanwhile, Thierry gained one position and was now into fifth place overall. In WRC2 Oliver was still leading, but we had a change behind the Swede, with Georg dropping from second to fourth place after the Estonian had a spin in his Yaris Rally2. Sami was now up into second place and Roope up to third.

After the lunchtime service break, SS12 Vännäs 2 – 15.65 km Elfyn was fastest from Adrien and Esapekka, whilst Thierry was also on the move, passing Oliver for fourth place. The stage was rutting up and getting quite messy and all the crews were remarking on this at the end of the stage. In WRC2 Oliver was still leading, although managing the gap over Sami who was fastest in the stage from Roope and Georg.

The second run of SS13 Sarsjöliden 2 – 14.23 km saw an even more rutted stage and Thierry was fastest by just two tenths of a second from Elfyn and Adrien third. The gap between Adrien and Elfyn was brought down to 13.2 seconds. In WRC2, Jan was fastest from Oliver and Mikko.

Onto the penultimate stage then, SS14 Bygdsiljum 2 – 28.06 km and Thierry was again fastest from Elfyn and Thierry. Meanwhile, Georg was fastest from Sami and Oliver in WRC2, and the Estonian moved back into third place in the category and seventh overall.

The final stage then of the day, SS15 Umeå 1 – 10.08 km and Thierry was again fastest from Ott and Kalle. There was drama though for both M-Sport crews. Gregoire was near the end of the stage when his Puma went straight on at a left-hand corner and into a snowbank. He and Louis jumped out and with assistance from a marshal dug their car out. However, they lost a huge amount of time, but at least they made the finish. Adrien also had a slide at the same corner and somehow managed to keep his Puma out of the snowbank, just clipping the outer edges of it. Somehow the Frenchman still ended up faster than Elfyn, as the Welshman really struggled with his tyres on the stage surface.

Let’s take a look at the top positions and hear from the drivers.

Classification after Saturday

1 E. Lappi J. Ferm Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid 2:03:52.0
2 A. Fourmaux A. Coria Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid +1:06.3
3 E. Evans S. Martin Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid +1:23.0
4 T. Neuville M. Wydaeghe Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid +2:22.1
5 O. Solberg E. Edmondson Škoda Fabia RS +4:01.1
6 S. Pajari E. Mälkönen Škoda Fabia Evo +5:15.1
7 G. Linnamäe J. Morgan Toyota GR Yaris +5:15.3
8 R. Korhonen A. Viinikka Toyota GR Yaris +5:35.1
9 M. Heikkilä K. Temonen Toyota GR Yaris +5:51.2
10 L. Joona J. Hussi Toyota GR Yaris +6:29.3


Hyundai Motorsport

Esapekka Lappi

“I am feeling satisfied, we are in the best position possible, but it has not been really enjoyable to drive in this situation. We were trying to manage the lead and not take any risks in a bid to save the tyres for the final stages, but we did it. Today was clearly very demanding for the tyres, especially the first and last stage of the loops which were very abrasive. We are not finished yet and I don’t want to celebrate too early. There are still three stages to go, and two long stages in particular where anything can happen. I am happy we are in this situation, but it isn’t over yet.”

2024 FIA World Rally Championship
Round 02, Rally Sweden
15-18 February 2024
Esapekka Lappi, Janne Ferm, Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid
Photographer: Dufour Fabien
Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

Thierry Neuville

“Things were getting better this afternoon but there was also a lot more gravel, and I felt more comfortable in the car. We have changed a lot of settings trying to find a good compromise for tomorrow, which will be an important day. I wouldn’t say I am satisfied but I at least I found a bit more traction. Hopefully that will continue to work on the first pass tomorrow. It’s always a challenge to look after the studs on our tyres, but I’ve always been good here in Sweden on the conditions in the second pass, especially if there is a lot of gravel. Hopefully we have found the necessary feeling and speed we need for tomorrow morning.”

Ott Tänak

“Not an easy day. In winter rallies it is always a bit ‘next level’ to open the road, particularly in the second loop. It is easy to get frustrated, but this is the penalty we have for what happened yesterday, so it is fair play. In these conditions you can’t really find a rhythm, you’re always fighting to keep the car on the road and it’s hard to be smooth as you need to be to protect the tyres. Hopefully the road condition tomorrow will play to our favour because we need to take as many points as possible.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Elfyn Evans

“This morning was going quite well until a bit of a clumsy error on one junction in the last stage of the loop, where we took on some snow in the front of the car and lost quite a bit of power. I’m a bit disappointed with that as it cost us quite dear in the fight for second place. In the afternoon it was far more difficult to claw back time. On the second pass with a lot of gravel coming through, the tyre wear is high, and you have to try and save the studs: I had no rear grip left for the last stage. Tomorrow will be a big push for the whole day to score as many points as we can.”

Kalle Rovanperä

“It was nice to restart this morning, with much nicer conditions with the sun out. It’s not always easy to come back and push again after something like what happened yesterday, but we just tried to enjoy the driving and I could have a good feeling after the first stage of the morning. Being second on the road was not optimal, especially this afternoon on the second pass. There was not much of a clean line to follow, but overall, it was quite OK. Tomorrow we will try to do our best to help the team bring some more points: that’s our goal.”

Takamoto Katsuta

“This morning we were fighting for the lead and pushing hard. We had a good first stage and got much closer to the lead, and I wanted to continue pushing to try and gain more time. Unfortunately, in one corner in SS10 I was probably carrying a bit too much speed and I lost the rear, hit the snowbank and we got stuck there. I feel very disappointed and I’m really sorry for the team, because it could have been a very good weekend. I just need to learn from this kind of thing, and we still have tomorrow to see if we can gain some points.”

Oliver Solberg

“We didn’t have the same amount of snow from yesterday, but today was still a tricky day in its own way. I’m really happy to have extended the lead in WRC2, this is the priority for me.

“It felt like the car was quite sideways at times, but that’s understandable with so much snow still around. For me, I’m in that tricky position with a good advantage and a lot to lose and not so much to gain from pushing to the maximum. Today was about driving, trying to save some tyres and making sure everything was good with the car.

“Again, it’s been amazing to see so many Swedish flags out there and so many fans at the side of the road. When the sun comes out, the place is just beautiful. The priority is to bring everything home tomorrow. Like always, me and Elliott [Edmondson, co-driver] want to do that with a smile on our faces.”


The final day of this event will see the crews tackle 61km’s over three stages. Can EP hold on and secure what will be a popular second victory? Can Elfyn overtake Adrien and secure the points for second fastest on the final day? We shall see.

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