Rovanpera “could not have been better” on WRC Rally Estonia

Toyota World Rally Championship boss Jari-Matti Latvala believes Kalle Rovanpera “could not have been better” on Saturday at Rally Estonia, as he verges on a history-making maiden WRC win.

Rovanpera ended Saturday in the box seat to become the youngest ever WRC rally winner after a dominant display on Estonia’s fast and flowing gravel stages.

The 20-year-old transformed an overnight 8.5s lead over Hyundai’s Craig Breen into a 50.7s advantage heading into the final day on Sunday. Rovanpera produced one of the drives of the season to blitz the field in the brand new Peipsiaare stage, beating local hero Ott Tanak by 10.7s.

Read Also:

The performance meant the Finn more than doubled his rally lead over Breen in what has been the turning point of the event. From there, Rovanpera produced a series of measured and mature drives to end the day with a commanding lead.

Rovanpera’s display triggered high praise from Latvala, who still holds the WRC youngest-ever winner record from his breakthrough victory on the 2008 Rally Sweden while a 22-year-old factory Ford driver.

“Kalle could not have been better today, it was a 10-out-of-10 day from him,” said Latvala. “To attack on the most difficult stage of the rally this morning and take the advantage that he did was really good. Then he was able to keep up the speed until the afternoon when he could start to back off a bit.

“He has managed it really, really well, and he has a good advantage now which means that he doesn’t need to take any risks.”

Kalle Rovanperä, Jonne Halttunen, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Kalle Rovanperä, Jonne Halttunen, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

At the time Rovanpera admitted he didn’t think his drive to win the Peipsiaare stage was that special, but upon reflecting on the day he was pleased with his overall performance.

“It’s been a really nice day and it feels good to be in this position,” said Rovanpera. “We know the first stage this morning was the most difficult stage of the rally, a really technical stage with brand new pace notes, and we prepared really well for that knowing that we could make some difference.

“It didn’t feel so good, but it was clean and I was trying to push and the time was really good. After that we could make a gap and then manage it on the second pass, where the conditions were quite rough.

“There were some tricky places with big ruts but we managed it quite well. Tomorrow is going to be a long day still: In this position we need to be focused all the time to not make any mistakes but still have a good rhythm.”

Rally Estonia concludes on Sunday with a further six stages including the Power Stage.

shares
comments
WRC Estonia: Rovanpera pulls clear as recovering Tanak impresses

Previous article

WRC Estonia: Rovanpera pulls clear as recovering Tanak impresses

Next article

Estonia WRC: Rovanpera extends lead to close in on victory

Estonia WRC: Rovanpera extends lead to close in on victory
Load comments
Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant? Prime

Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains Prime

How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Prime

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Prime

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021
Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit? Prime

Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit?

OPINION: The Ypres Rally featured a cameo from the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in its final stage, giving WRC teams the chance to experience its iconic corners in rallying machinery. It proved to be an engaging addition to the rally, and could perhaps serve as an example for other events to visit famous circuits

WRC
Aug 24, 2021
Home hero Neuville delivers overdue WRC success for Hyundai in Belgium Prime

Home hero Neuville delivers overdue WRC success for Hyundai in Belgium

With limited recent fortune and pressure starting to mount, Hyundai needed a big result at the Ypres Rally. All the key components came together in Belgium to see home hero Thierry Neuville lead a manufacturer 1-2 and kickstart its World Rally Championship challenge

WRC
Aug 16, 2021
The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree Prime

The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree

M-Sport has become the first to unveil its new-for-2022 hybrid World Rally Championship challenger, the Puma Rally1. Ford has upped its support in a bid for glory, but can the new machine roll back the years and return the Blue Oval to the top of the WRC tree?

WRC
Aug 12, 2021
The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies Prime

The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies

French drivers have dominated the World Rally Championship across the past two decades; Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier have racked up the titles in commanding fashion. With Ogier calling it a day on full-time WRC competition from next year, France will pin its long-term hopes on rookie Adrien Fourmaux, who looks to have a bright future.

WRC
Aug 7, 2021