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Two Finns at the opposite ends of their careers have topped the dusty shakedown tests at Rally Sweden overnight. In a rare situation, there were two shakedown tests as the scheduled first stage of the event was downgraded. The first test, Skalla, was held on dusty but cold conditions and saw most World Rally Cars run twice, with many struggling to get used to the combination of studded tyres on gravel. In his final run of the stage, teenager Kalle Rovanpera took the fastest time by over three seconds ahead of fellow Toyota drivers Sebastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans.

Takamoto Katsuta during the shakedown test. Photo: Peter Whitten

While there was no snow to be seen, organisers and fans may note a positive situation where the gravel road did not cut up as anticipated. The second shakedown test, the Karlstad Super Special Stage, was run once by all crews as part of the regular TV stage. Though not counted for the event, most crews again took the chance to test on these rare conditions. All World Rally Cars bar Ott Tanak and Craig Breen pushed on tyres which were exempt from their weekend allocation. Jari Matti Latvala won the stage in his privately entered Yaris, which again saw a Toyota lockout of the top three positions. Ogier and Rovanpera took the minor places in what is an ominous sign for their rivals heading into Friday's stages.

The studded Michelin tyres will talked about a lot this weekend. Photo: Peter Whitten

Despite the conditions, Swedish fans piled into the shakedown stage. Photo: Peter Whitten

 
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