Ogier tips Rovanpera to make WRC history on Arctic Rally Finland

Sebastien Ogier says Toyota Gazoo Racing teammate Kalle Rovanpera can make World Rally Championship history and become the series' youngest-ever winner in this week's Arctic Rally Finland.

The snow-based event is a new addition to the WRC calendar and replaces Rally Sweden, which was cancelled in December due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rovanpera, whose father Harri took his only WRC win on the Swedish snow 20 years ago this month, has previous experience of the event having won the Arctic Lapland Rally last season. He shone on his only previous WRC outing on snow, pipping Ogier to finish third on last year's Rally Sweden.

Victory this weekend for the 20-year-old Finn would break a record held by his Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala that has stood since 2008, when Latvala prevailed on Rally Sweden aged 22 years and 313 days.

Three-time Sweden winner Ogier told Motorsport.com that Rovanpera, who starts fourth on the road, is “definitely on the favourites’ list for this event”.

“For him, it is not actually a new event – he was there last year with the Yaris – and he is always fast on snow as we saw last season [in Sweden]," he said. “He might be young in age but he is definitely not young on experience when it comes to this surface.

"And I think being last [of the WRC cars] on the road, a guy like [Hyundai third driver] Craig [Breen] – depending on the conditions – could have a card to play on this event.”

Read Also:

Although no fresh snow is forecast for the Rovaniemi-based rally this week, Ogier has the unenviable job of opening the road on the first day - something the seven-time champion admits is going to hurt his 100% winning start to the season. Nonetheless, the 37-year-old says preparations for the newest addition to the WRC schedule have gone well as teams continue to acclimatise to the new Pirelli tyres.

“We had two good days of testing; one in Jyvaskyla and one in the Rovaniemi area, so it was a good chance to do a lot of mileage with the tyres,” he said. “We have seen a lot of differences between these tyres and the ones we had before. These kilometres in testing are very important to try to learn those differences and I think the snow tyres from Pirelli is a good product.

“Obviously we are going up north where we are sure to find a lot of snow so, in this case, it would be better to have narrow tyres and longer studs but regulations allow only one type of tyre and we have to deal with that.

“As a frontrunner, I hope there is not going to be too much snow on the road otherwise my life is going to be difficult."

shares
comments
Fourmaux set for WRC top division outing in Croatia
Previous article

Fourmaux set for WRC top division outing in Croatia

Next article

Hyundai wants "nothing less than victory" in Arctic Rally

Hyundai wants "nothing less than victory" in Arctic Rally
Load comments
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Prime

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Prime

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, we pick out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Prime

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend Prime

How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend

OPINION: Adding an eighth WRC title to his name, Sebastien Ogier has bowed out from full-time rallying in style. Having been compared throughout his career with nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb, Ogier has convincingly demonstrated that he can stand on his own as one of the greatest rally drivers in history

WRC
Nov 22, 2021
How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend Prime

How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend

This weekend's Rally Monza marks the end of an era in the World Rally Championship, as Sebastien Ogier prepares to bring down the curtain on his full-time career with an eighth title. For all his enduring success, the Toyota driver reveals in an exclusive interview that lingering insecurities have compelled his quest for perfection

WRC
Nov 18, 2021
The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC Prime

The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC

The McRae family name is steeped in rallying history, with eight British titles between Jimmy, Colin and Alister - plus the small matter of the 1995 WRC title too. Next on the conveyor of talent is Alister's 17-year-old Max McRae, who’s setting out in Australia to conquer the world of rallying and return the famous name to the WRC...

WRC
Nov 12, 2021
Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era Prime

Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era

As the World Rally Championship undergoes its biggest shift in regulations for a generation, teams are taking radical measures to prepare for its new era. Hyundai's unique approach involved conducting a private 1500km rally in Italy and Motorsport.com went to see how the team is preparing for 2022

WRC
Nov 4, 2021
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Prime

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021