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banner Sunday, 11 February, 2001, 14:09 GMT
Rovanpera hits big time in Sweden
Harri Rovanpera negotiates the snow in the Swedish Rally
Rovanpera coped well with the snowy conditions
Finland's Harri Rovanpera burst onto the international motorsport scene with a stunning victory in the Rally of Sweden.

Rovanpera, who led going into the final day, clung on for his first ever World Rally victory having.

The Peugeot 206 driver finished 27.9 seconds ahead of home favourite Thomas Radstrom in his Mitsubishi Carisma.

Spain's Carlos Sainz was third in his Ford Focus, 37 seconds behind the winner.

Rovanpera's nearest challenger for most of the Rally, Tommi Makinen, crashed his Mitsubishi and retired 19km from the finish.

"I am so happy as some of the stages on the final leg were difficult because of the heavy snow," said Rovanpera.

"I had a few problems with choosing the wrong tyres and stalling at the start of a stage so I am delighted to have kept Tommi and Thomas behind me."

The unfortunate Makinen was shocked to see Rovanpera heading the pack.

"I was very surprised with Harri's speed, especially as he was the first car on the road," Makinen said.

"We really wanted to win and we went on full attack. But we pushed a bit too far on the final stage and rolled the car."

Mixed British fortunes

Peugeot driver Toni Gardemeister finished fourth, ahead of Frenchman Francois Delecour in his Ford.

Norwegian Petter Solberg claimed sixth spot for Subaru.

British pair Colin McRae and Richard Burns succumbed to a snowbank on the opening leg.

The drivers won 13 of the 17 stages but their lengthy stoppage forced them out of the drivers' points.

Scot McRae lost more than five minutes in his Ford but stormed back up the leaderboard to eventually finish ninth and claim two points for his team.

Subaru driver Burns won all five stages on the final day as but finished 16th, almost 11 minutes adrift of the winner.

Makinen, Sainz and Rovanpera are all tied on 10 points after the second round of the world championship.

Rally of Sweden results:

  • 1. Harri Rovanpera/Risto Pietilainen (Fin) Peugeot 206 WRC 3hr 27min 1.1sec
  • 2. Thomas Radstrom/Tina Thorner (Swe) Mitsubishi Carisma GT at 27.9sec
  • 3. Carlos Sainz/Luis Moya (Spa) Ford Focus WRC 37
  • 4. Toni Gardemeister/Paavo Lukander (Fin) Peugeot 206 WRC at 2min 5.3sec
  • 5. François Delecour/Daniel Grataloup (Fra) Ford Focus WRC 2:25.2
  • 6. Peter Solberg/Philip Mills (Nor-Gbr) Subaru Impreza WRC 2:48.5
  • 7. Daniel Carlsson/Berry Melander (Swe) Toyota Corolla WRC 3:18.2
  • 8. Kenneth Eriksson/Staffan Parmander (Swe) Hyundai Accent WRC 3:35.8
  • 9. Colin McRae/Nicky Grist (Gbr) Ford Focus WRC 4:28.8
  • 10. Bruno Thiry/Stephane Prevot (Bel) Skoda Octavia WRC 5:23.6
  • 11. Janne Tuohino/Petri Vihavainen (Fin) Toyota Corolla WRC 5:46.7
  • 12. Markko Martin/Michael Park (Est-Gbr) Subaru Impreza WRC 6:10.6
  • 13. Freddy Loix/Sven Smeets (Bel) Mitsubishi Carisma GT 7:54.3
  • 14. Stig Walfridsson/Lars Backman (Swe) Mitsubishi Lancer 10:37.2
  • 15. Henrik Lundgaard/Jerns Anker (Den) Toyota Corolla WRC 10:44.0
  • 16. Richard Burns/Robert Reid (Gbr) Subaru Impreza WRC 10:58.8

    Drivers standings:

  • 1. Tommi Makinen (Fin) 10 pts
  • 2. Harri Rovanpera (Fin), Carlos Sainz (Spa) 10
  • 4. Thomas Radstrom (Swe), Francois Delecour (Fra) 6
  • 6. Toni Gardemeister (Fin) 5
  • 7. Armin Schwarz (Ger) 3
  • 8. Freddy Loix (Bel), Peter Solberg (Nor) 1

    Constructors standings:

  • 1. Mitsubishi 23 pts
  • 2. Ford 14
  • 3. Skoda 6
  • 4. Hyundai 5
  • 5. Subaru 4.
    BBC Sport's Greg Strange
    "Fast and consistent, he drove through where others failed"
    World Rally Championship

    See also:

    12 Feb 01 |  Photo Galleries
    Swedish rally day three - in pictures
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