The teenager won the opening 11 special stages on Thursday and Friday and proved unbeatable again today in his Skoda Fabia R5 on super-fast forest roads near Jyväskylä. He carries a 4min 14.2sec lead into Sunday’s final leg.
Rovanperä struggled for grip this morning, but it made no difference to his pace as he almost doubled his lead over Eric Camilli’s Ford Fiesta. The Finn is now set for a fourth straight category win in tomorrow’s finale.
Nikolay Gryazin headed WRC 2 after a disastrous final speed test for Pierre-Louis Loubet, who had dominated the category since early Friday morning.
Loubet’s lead climbed to more than a minute as the Frenchman measured his pace in search of a third consecutive victory in his Fabia. However, in the final Leustu special stage he misheard a pace note for a tight corner and the rear of his car smashed into a tree.
He was pulled out by spectators but dropped more than 6min 30sec to plunge to fourth.
Russian Gryazin, second overnight, conceded time all morning to Jari Huttunen and the Finn moved his Hyundai i20 ahead in the last test before mid-leg service. His lead lasted just one stage before Gryazin was back ahead in his Fabia and he ended with a 12.1sec advantage.
Johan Kristoffersson was almost two minutes further back in third, the Swede more than four minutes clear of Loubet. Henning Solberg and Paulo Nobre completed the top six.
Takamoto Katsuta’s hopes of a podium finish evaporated when he hit a concrete block and retired his Fiesta in the opening stage.