The Finnish duo won the second event of the new World Rally Championship season by a 22 second margin to extend their early advantage in the drivers’ and co-drivers’ standings.

Rovanpera also emulated his father, Harri, whose one and only success in the World Rally Championship came in Sweden with Peugeot back in 2001.

"I am really pleased. I didn’t think that we could be this good, especially starting first on the road on Friday,” said Rovanpera, who managed to score four bonus points on the Power Stage despite the hybrid system on his GR Yaris not working.

"I didn't feel like celebrating much now. It has been a really difficult week for the people in Ukraine and I hope they can find strength and hope in these difficult times," added the 21-year-old.

The pressure on Rovanpera was eased considerably on Sunday’s first stage when Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin got out of sorts through a quick section and inflicted significant frontal damage to their car, with this leading to the hybrid unit failing on the spot.

They should have started the ‘Vindeln’ test 8.3 seconds off top spot but a 10 second penalty meted out by stewards after they veered off the designated rally route on Saturday’s ‘Umea’ spectator special increased that to 18.3 seconds.

The key beneficiary of their shock departure was Thierry Neuville, but despite feeling more at one with his I20 N Rally1 supermini, the Belgian could not afford to ease off as Esapekka Lappi loomed ever large in his mirrors.

An edge-of-the-seat scrap was eventually settled on the Power Stage, with second-place points going home with Neuville. It was a doubly singnificant outcome as it was Hyundai's first podium of what has been a difficult start to the WRC's hybrid era for the Korean marque.

"I mean it [podiums] should be actually quite normal but after Monte Carlo we had a lot of work and everyone worked really hard despite some difficult times in the last couple of months of last year as well, but we are here and we have shown we are going the right way," he said.

"There is still some work left but I want to thank everyone in the team for pushig hard. I'm looking forward to the upcoming events. There is a lot of work left but we are going to do it," he added.

Lappi felt the result could have been different had he had more seat time in the Yaris. “I can do 95% [speed and commitment] but I cannot do 100," said the Finn, who is sharing the drive of the Yaris with reigning WRC champion Sebastien Ogier in 2022. "That’s how it’s been the whole weekend. I just need to accept it."

Toyota's Takamoto Katsuta and Aaron Johnston moved up one place on Sunday to fourth and secured two Power Stage points from another character-building few days. M-Sport Ford's Gus Greensmith ended the winter meeting fifth and having been as high as second on the opening day before reliability, set-up and tyre woes intervened, Hyundai's Oliver Solberg ended his home counter in sixth.

A tough weekend for M-Sport Ford was exacerbated by Adrien Fourmaux’s retirement on the road section to Sunday’s first stage. The Frenchman suffered engine-related issues late on Saturday with efforts already underway by the team to figure out the exact cause of the problem.