Kalle Rovanperä, a future WRC star 
 It has taken Toyota Gazoo Racing debutant driver, Kalle Rovanperä just two appointments of the top WRC category to conquer his first podium. It happened last weekend at Rally Sweden, second round of the WRC calendar.
Exhibiting an unusual talent and personality for a 19-year-old, he has had a podium after the shortest ever WRC career. His feat has received the well-deserved praise of both the press and his rivals.
He has not only finished in the top three but has done so without making any mistake and at a particularly complicated appointment where the lack of snow has made the conditions of the race even harder, particularly for a WRC rookie.

Rovanperä has not only come out unharmed from the battle but has also enjoyed the luxury of beating teammate Sébastien Ogier at the last special. Despite both the rookie and the six-time champion driving the same Yaris WRC, the former won a thrilling squabble on the very final meters on Sunday. 


Having to battle with the drenched, muddy and icy tracks of the itinerary, many participants decided to ease the foot off of the accelerator in fear of skidding off-road or crashing against a tree.

Kalle, however, made the most of his Japanese missile until he accrued the key three-second-advantage that would take him to the podium.

Both the members of the team lead by Tommi Mäkinen kept the fight right until the very last meters of the race when Rovanperä finally came out on top.  

Kalle has now become the youngest ever driver to win a Power Stage at the WRC, a precociousness that says a lot about his quality as a rally driver and about the brilliant career that lays ahead of him. 

As if the performance of #69 wasn’t good enough, it is worth remembering that Kalle arrived at Rally Sweden without taking part in the previous training sessions in the country. 

Elfyn Evans, the rally winner, and Ogier, Kalle’s rival for the third position, had, on the other hand, attended the training sessions. Over those training days, however, Kalle was taking participating, and winning, the Arctic Lapland Rally, although the conditions of that race were significantly different from those found in Sweden. 


The circumstances under which last weekend’s rally was disputed, with hardly any snow and plenty of mud, made for an incredibly treacherous race with drivers losing the spikes of their tires as fast as they were losing time against the clock.

Incidentally, it was on those same tracks that Kalle’s father, Harry Rovanperä, achieved his one and only WRC victory. 

 Rovanperä seems to have transitioned very naturally from the R5s of the silver category to those of the WRC elite. He even seemed more hesitant at the beginning of 2019, when it took him a few mistakes to finally adapt to his Skoda Fabia only to end up conquering the title of the category.
His extraordinary ability to adapt, however, has resulted in some wonderful performances with his new Yaris WRC. 
Although still early to speak of career objectives, he could well become the youngest ever driver to win a WRC rally. The driver currently holding the honor is his compatriot Jari-Matti Latvala after he winning the Swedish Rally in 2008.


Images of Kalle Rovanperä: Toyota GAZOO Racing


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