The Central European Rally continued after a brief tyre service where crews had limited support and only the spare parts they carried in their cars to effect repairs and setup changes before repeating the same three-stage loop in Czechia that they completed – and in some cases survived – through the morning. Toyota’s rally leader and WRC points leader Kalle Rovanperä had made the most of his advantageous road position through the morning and found out exactly how much mud and debris had been pulled onto the asphalt by the cars behind him on the second pass. In the morning he had completed the 13.66 km Vlachovo Březí stage in a time of 7minutes 8.2 seconds on a clear road, while in the afternoon his best was 8.5 seconds slower while negotiating the muddy surface. Teammate and title rival Elfyn Evans took 1.7 seconds out of Rovanperä’s lead on his run in second place on the leader board, with third-placed Thierry Neuville also beating Rovanperä’s time by 0.6 seconds for Hyundai. The stage was stopped after the first six cars had passed through due to spectators in the security areas. The cars are now on their way to the next special stage.
#69 Kalle Rovanperä (FIN) / Jonne Halttonen (FIN), Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid
“It’s definitely quite tricky even though we weren’t really trying hard on the stage. I hope this one was the worst stage of the loop, I don’t know, but yeah let’s hope that our pace is still okay relative to the guys behind.”
#33 Elfyn Evans (GBR) / Scott Martin (GBR), Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid
“I’m not sure anybody’s going to get a good feeling in here to be honest, it’ pretty horrific conditions but we did what we could.”
#11 Thierry Neuville (BEL) / Martijn Wydaeghe (BEL), Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid
“To be honest, I can’t do more. I had a clean stage in there and I doing what I can at the moment. This morning the stages were very tricky and getting dirtier and dirtier, now it’s similar and I do what I can. It’s not like it should be. We made a wrong setup choice and there’s nothing we could have done in mid-day without any service.”