Rally prodigy Rovanpera picks up Red Bull support

Sixteen-year-old rally star Kalle Rovanpera has been signed by Red Bull and will benefit from personal backing from the Austrian energy drinks firm from now on.

Rally prodigy Rovanpera picks up Red Bull support
Kalle Rovanpera, Peugeot 208T16 R5
Kalle Rovanpera, Risto Pietilainen, Peugeot 208T16 R5
Kalle Rovanpera, Risto Pietilainen, Peugeot 208T16 R5
Kalle Rovanpera, Risto Pietilainen, Peugeot 208T16 R5

Rovanpera has taken the rally world by storm in the last 12 months, winning last year’s Latvian title and remaining undefeated in that series so far this year.

It’s that record that tempted Red Bull to back the son of former world rally winner Harri.

Rovanpera Jr said: "This deal feels really nice. Red Bull is the coolest brand in the rally world.

"I am really happy to be part of them. It is a big step for me in my rally career.

"We were in talks with Red Bull for some time already. The sponsor deal means more possibilities for the future. That is how it is nowadays, you need to be seen in the media."

In addition to the Latvian Rally Championship – where drivers are allowed to compete from the age of 14 – Rovanpera has started competing in Italy and his native Finland with a waiver from both governing bodies.

Rovanpera is competing in Italy to gain experience of asphalt events and driving alongside local hero Paolo Andreucci for the importer Peugeot team.

The Finn hasn’t always found the 208 T16 to his liking, however. He rolled at last weekend’s Rally Adriatico and was forced out of the event with damage to the Peugeot’s radiator.

He said: "The engine in Peugeot feels like the one in S2000 car, there is no torque in the low revs at all.

"It suits badly to the stages like we had this weekend in Italy. That is also the feature that partly caused our roll."

Rovanpera will return to his Toni Gardemeister-run Skoda Fabia R5 for this weekend’s Rally Talsi, the next Latvian round.

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