This year Rally Sweden welcome 73 participants from 14 different countries and 63 of them reached the finish. But just 24 finished it without Super Rally rule and even less without any penalties. But the most shocking thing is, probably, the tiniest gap between rally winner and second place in all Open RBR-LT WRC championship history.
Petr Kubovsky managed to keep tiny 7,48 sec. advantage against Alex Karkach after second day but he knew that the last three stages on the last day will be very hard to keep Alex behind him. And so Alex was winning time against Petr in first two stages but they drove very close. Alex won SS17 and cut 1,47 sec. of Petr's time. In the next one Petr lost just 0,21 sec. and before the last stage he had 5,8 seconds against Alex. So the last stage started and Petr made some small mistakes that seemed to be crucial for 1st place fight. But luckily Petr lost 5,26 seconds for Alex in the last stages, what meant he saved his 1st place just by half a second. What a dramatic way to win his first event in Open RBR-LT WRC 2019 season.
Anton Kochetkov had won 12 of 19 special stages and probably would be 1st here in Sweden if not a mistakes in first day. He showed a really amazing speed in following days but for now he has to satisfy with 3rd place behind his countryman Alex Karkach who definitely can be more upset of his second place. "Alex!!! WOWOWOW +0.54 from Petr !! Amazing!! Big thanks all guys! Organizers big thanks. I lost this rally in first day, but i tried do my best all race! See you next time!",- said Anton.
In WRC 2 classification no drama occurred on last stages and Tomek Wach won here by 3 min. 39 sec. over Jyrki Niemela in second place. Here is Tomek's comment after finish: "Spin on the power stage but it looks that I was out of points here anyway even without that spin. Generally OK rally, 1st day really good, later some mistakes but still quite positive. See you next time. (smiles)". Paulius Butmanas hold his 3rd place and took good points here with his Subaru. It has been 2013 Paulius last time took a podium in Open RBR-LT WRC 2 championship. "Amazing to be back on podium with this car. Especially after such a long time. We drive almost without test but I feel really confident with this car. We pushed quite hard even in last day trying to catch Novak's Fiesta WRC in overall. Very exiting about next event in Mexico.",- spoke Paulius.
Portuguese Oscar Estévez almost had WRC 3 victory after second day with 30 seconds advantage on Karl Buravchik. So he needed just to easily reach finish, but things not always goes like you plan them in Sweden. In SS17 Oscar lost 10 seconds to Karl, on the next one 4 seconds more and before last stage Karl was just 15 seconds behind Oscar. So the pressure was growing but Oscar managed to make a clean and safe last run and secure his victory in WRC 3 by 10.31 seconds: "Safe run in last day. But win WRC3. I am very happy. Thanks for fight Karl! Thanks RBR-LT!",- told Oscar. Karl also was in good mood after finish: "Thanks. Good rally. Great fight with Oscar!". Oscar again clinched high position in overall, no points like in "Monte" this time but respectable 12th place and 13th for Karl. Two guys were also fighting for 3rd place in this class. Maciej Zawisza was only 12,89 seconds faster than Mariusz Domanus after second day and got a strong pressure from Mariusz in last day. Peugeot 208 R2 driven by Mariusz was faster in last day and managed to melt Maciej's advantage to 4,88 seconds but this time Maciej holds his Ford Fiesta S1600 in 3rd place.
So a very hot Rally Sweden is over and we already feeling the heat of next Open RBR-LT WRC 2019 season event in Mexico. We gonna see who is the fastest on gravel surface. Since this years championship is filled with many fast drivers it's almost unpredictable who gonna win in Mexico. See You soon!