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Kalle Rovanperä

Finnish rally driver (born 2000)

Kalle Rovanperä
Nationality Finnish
Born (2000-10-01) 1 October 2000 (age 22)
Jyväskylä, Finland
Related toHarri Rovanperä (father)
World Rally Championship record
Active years2017–present
Co-driver Jonne Halttunen
TeamsŠkoda, Toyota
Rallies49
Championships1 (2022)
Rally wins8
Podiums13
Stage wins86
Total points451
First rally2017 Wales Rally GB
First win2021 Rally Estonia
Last win2022 Rally New Zealand
Last rally2022 Rally New Zealand

Kalle Rovanperä (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈkɑlːe ˈroʋɑnˌperæ]; born 1 October 2000) is a Finnish World Rally Championship driver in Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT and current World Rally driver's champion, alongside co-driver Jonne Halttunen.

Rovanperä is the son of former WRC driver Harri Rovanperä. He has garnered international attention by starting rallying at an exceptionally young age.[1][2] He is the 2019 World Rally Championship-2 Pro champion. In 2021, Rovanperä became the youngest driver to win a World Rally Championship event. In 2022, he broke the late Colin McRae's record of becoming the youngest ever World Champion after winning Rally New Zealand a day after his 22nd birthday, and also becoming the first Finnish World Champion since Marcus Grönholm in 2002.[3]

Career

2015 season – Latvian R2 class champion

In 2015, at age 14, Rovanperä competed in Latvia, where a driver's license is not a requirement to take part in rallying. Between the stages his car was driven by co-driver Risto Pietiläinen, who also used to be the co-driver of Kalle Rovanperä's father Harri in WRC rallies. On 18 October 2015 Rovanperä won the Latvian rally championship with his Citroen C2 R2 Max car in the R2 class.[4]

2016 season – Latvian open class champion

For the first three rallies of the 2016 Latvian rally series, Rovanperä drove a 300-horsepower four-wheel-drive Škoda Fabia S2000. It was a completely new WRC2 class rally car with a two-liter naturally aspirated engine.[5] The first race, on 16–17 January, ended in Rovanperä's overwhelming victory. The second place driver Ralfs Sirmacis lost the eight stage rally by one minute and 10 seconds. Rovanperä won each of the stages.[6]

The second rally, also in January 2016, was won by Rovanperä after a ferocious final spurt. His car's power steering was lost on the second stage and he lost over a minute. Eventually Rovanperä was able to win the rally with a 20.4 second margin to second-place Raimonds Kisiels. Rovanperä won nine of the ten stages.[7]

Rovanperä placed second in the Kurzeme rally in Latvia in May. It was the first rally in the 2016 Baltic Rally Trophy series. He was able to finish the rally despite suffering an axle damage and losing torque in his rear wheels.[8]

For the rest of the season Rovanperä got to drive a new Škoda Fabia R5 car. He placed second in Rally Zemaitija in Latvia in June and won the Tallinn rally in Estonia in August.[9]

In September Rovanperä was second in Liepaja rally, the penultimate rally of the Latvian championship series.

Latvia rally in October closed out the season. Rovanperä won the rally and clinched the championship. Over the season, he won four times, placed second three times, and finished outside the podium only once. He is the youngest driver ever, at age of 16, to win a national open class rally championship in any country.[10]

2017 season – three national series and WRC debut

In January 2017 the Finnish motorsport association AKK-Motorsport granted 16-year-old Rovanperä a special permission to take part in Finnish rally races and the Ralli SM national championship series.[11]

In February Rovanperä took part in his first Finnish championship rally in Mikkeli. He won the rally by a 10.7-second margin to second-place Teemu Asunmaa despite suffering a tire puncture.[12] In June Rovanperä took his second Finnish rally championship series victory in Kouvola.[13]

In 2017 Rovanperä participated in the national championship series of three countries: Latvia, Italy and Finland. In Latvia and Finland he was driving Toni Gardemeister's team's Škoda Fabia R5 and in Italy a Peugeot team's Peugeot 208 T16.[14] In Latvia Rovanperä won two of his first rallies and place second in the third one. In Italy he did not have notable success.

In June 2017 the Finnish transport safety agency Trafi granted Rovanperä a special permission to apply for a driver's license when he turns 17.[15] The normal required age in Finland is 18. On Monday 2 October, a day after his 17th birthday, Rovanperä successfully completed the mandatory driving test after having completed the theory part beforehand.[16] Having a driver's license allows him to take part in WRC rallies.

In the beginning of October Rovanperä placed second in Rally Liepaja in Latvia. As well as being part of the Latvian championship series, it was also Rovanperä's first rally in the European Rally Championship. Rovanperä had already previously clinched the 2017 Latvian open class rally championship for the second year in a row.[17]

Rovanperä participated in his first WRC rally at Wales Rally GB in October 2017,[18] driving an M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5 car in Wales as well as in Rally Australia in November.[19] He won the Rally Australia in WRC2, but was also the only contestant in the class.[20] He also finished tenth in the total evaluation, gained a point and therefore became the youngest ever driver to score a point.

2018 season

Rovanperä at the 2018 Rally Finland.

Rovanperä joined the Škoda Motorsport team for the 2018 season, with a plan to contest in the WRC2 series in 6–7 events. Rovanperä will use a private entered car for some of the rallies, including the season opener Monte Carlo Rally. Rovanperä will also contest some events in the Asia Pacific Championship series.[21]

In May, Kalle suffered a large accident on the Rally Argentina. Locked in a battle with teammate Pontus Tidemand for the WRC-2 victory on the final day, Rovanperä misjudged a fast left-hander and rolled violently, his car landing on top of a spectator's car parked at the side of the stage. Thankfully there was nobody in the car, and he and his co-driver were unscathed.

He had a successful season, leading in Argentina prior to the accident, and was leading again in Finland when his suspension broke, before finally bagging a win with a dominant drive in Wales, where he'd made his debut one year earlier.

2021 season – Youngest WRC event winner

Rovanperä at the 2020 Rally Sweden.

On 18 July 2021, Kalle Rovanperä won Rally Estonia and became the youngest driver to win a World Rally Championship event, at the age of twenty years and 289 days.[22] Later that year Rovanperä also won the 2021 Acropolis Rally, his second career win.[23]

2022 season – Youngest WRC Champion

Rovanperä finished the 2022 Monte Carlo Rally in 4th with three stage wins. Rovanperä and Halttunen won the next round, the 2022 Rally Sweden, hence becoming the Championship leaders.[24]

At the next round in Croatia, Rovanperä and Halttunen won again. They had a lead of over a minute over Thierry Neuville on Friday and later over Ott Tänak but lost time on Saturday due to a puncture. On Sunday, Tänak led Rovanperä by over 1 second in the penultimate stage due to a different tyre choice. Rovanperä won the power stage and eventually finished 4.3 seconds clear of Tänak, extending his championship lead.[25]

Rovanperä and Halttunen made it three wins in a row by winning the 2022 Rally de Portugal over his teammate Elfyn Evans. At the end of Friday, Rovanperä was second overall behind Evans by 13.6 seconds. On Saturday in SS15, it started raining and with the lower road position, Evans faced a heavier downpour of rain and lost the lead to Rovanperä by 4.0 seconds. On Sunday, Evans could not catch Rovanperä, who won not only the rally but also the power stage, earning him 30 points and increasing his championship lead.[26] Rovanperä broke Colin McRae's record of becoming the youngest ever World Champion after winning Rally New Zealand a day after his 22nd birthday, and also becoming the first World Champion from Finland since Marcus Grönholm in 2002.[3]

Rally victories

WRC victories

# Event Season Co-driver Car
1 2021 Rally Estonia 2021 Jonne Halttunen Toyota Yaris WRC
2 2021 Acropolis Rally 2021 Jonne Halttunen Toyota Yaris WRC
3 2022 Rally Sweden 2022 Jonne Halttunen Toyota GR Yaris Rally1
4 2022 Croatia Rally 2022 Jonne Halttunen Toyota GR Yaris Rally1
5 2022 Rally de Portugal 2022 Jonne Halttunen Toyota GR Yaris Rally1
6 2022 Safari Rally 2022 Jonne Halttunen Toyota GR Yaris Rally1
7 2022 Rally Estonia 2022 Jonne Halttunen Toyota GR Yaris Rally1
8 2022 Rally New Zealand 2022 Jonne Halttunen Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

WRC-2 victories

# Event Season Co-driver Car
1 2017 Rally Australia 2017 Jonne Halttunen Ford Fiesta R5
2 2018 Wales Rally GB 2018 Jonne Halttunen Škoda Fabia R5
3 2018 Rally Catalunya 2018 Jonne Halttunen Škoda Fabia R5

WRC-2 Pro victories

# Event Season Co-driver Car
1 2019 Rally Chile 2019 Jonne Halttunen Škoda Fabia R5
2 2019 Rally de Portugal 2019 Jonne Halttunen Škoda Fabia R5 evo
3 2019 Rally Italia Sardegna 2019 Jonne Halttunen Škoda Fabia R5 evo
4 2019 Rally Finland 2019 Jonne Halttunen Škoda Fabia R5 evo
5 2019 Wales Rally GB 2019 Jonne Halttunen Škoda Fabia R5 evo

Career results

WRC results

Year Entrant Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Pos. Points
2017 Kalle Rovanperä Ford Fiesta R5 MON SWE MEX FRA ARG POR ITA POL FIN GER ESP GBR
35
AUS
10
25th 1
2018 Kalle Rovanperä Škoda Fabia R5 MON
11
SWE 22nd 3
Škoda Motorsport MEX
15
FRA ARG
Ret
POR ITA FIN
14
Škoda Motorsport II GER
10
TUR GBR
9
ESP
12
AUS
2019 Škoda Motorsport Škoda Fabia R5 MON
18
SWE
18
MEX FRA
Ret
ARG CHL
8
12th 18
Skoda Fabia R5 Evo POR
6
ITA
9
FIN
9
GER
16
TUR
18
GBR
9
ESP
12
AUS
C
2020 Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC MON
5
SWE
3
MEX
5
EST
5
TUR
4
ITA
Ret
MNZ
5
5th 80
2021 Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC MON
4
ARC
2
CRO
Ret
POR
22
ITA
25
KEN
6
EST
1
BEL
3
GRE
1
FIN
34
ESP
5
MNZ
9
4th 142
2022 Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 MON
4
SWE
1
CRO
1
POR
1
ITA
5
KEN
1
EST
1
FIN
2
BEL
62
GRE
15
NZL
1
ESP JPN 1st 237*

* Season still in progress.

WRC-2 results

Year Entrant Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Pos. Points
2017 Kalle Rovanperä Ford Fiesta R5 MON SWE MEX FRA ARG POR ITA POL FIN GER ESP GBR
15
AUS
1
15th 25
2018 Škoda Motorsport Škoda Fabia R5 MON SWE MEX
5
FRA ARG
Ret
POR ITA FIN
4
3rd 90
Škoda Motorsport II GER
2
TUR GBR
1
ESP
1
AUS

WRC-2 Pro results

Year Entrant Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Pos. Points
2019 Škoda Motorsport Škoda Fabia R5 MON
2
SWE
2
MEX FRA
Ret
ARG CHL
1
1st 176
Skoda Fabia R5 Evo POR
1
ITA
1
FIN
1
GER
3
TUR
3
GBR
1
ESP
3
AUS
C

ERC results

Year Entrant Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pos. Points
2017 Kalle Rovanperä Ford Fiesta R5 ACO ESP GRC CYP POL CZE ROM LVA
2
12th 30

References

  1. ^ "Watch a 13-year-old rallyist scare someone stupid". www.topgear.com. 29 July 2014. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  2. ^ "Tässä tulee toisen polven rallivirtuoosi! – katso video" (in Finnish). Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  3. ^ a b "BREAKING: Rovanperä seals WRC crown with historic victory down under". WRC - World Rally Championship. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  4. ^ "Suomalainen Kalle, 15, näytti kokeneille kuskeille mallia – voitti rallimestaruuden ja ällistytti legendaarisen isänsä". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). 18 October 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  5. ^ "15-vuotiaan suomalaisen rallisensaation jatko selvillä: "keskoskaappi" vaihtuu uuteen 300-hevosvoimaiseen tykkiin". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). 14 December 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Kalle Rovanperä, 15, ylivoimaiseen rallivoittoon – tyrmäsi muut kuskit!" (in Finnish). Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  7. ^ "Kalle Rovanperältä, 15, aivan uskomaton nousu! Ajoi taas voittoon" (in Finnish). Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  8. ^ "Suomen rallilupaus hurjana – sijoittui toiseksi, vaikka veto katosi". mtv.fi (in Finnish). Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  9. ^ "Suomalainen 15-vuotias superlupaus ylivoimaiseen rallivoittoon -" (in Finnish). Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  10. ^ "Kalle Rovanperällä, 16, uskomaton vuosi – kausi päättyi mestaruuteen!" (in Finnish). Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  11. ^ "AKK myönsi poikkeusluvan – alaikäinen Kalle Rovanperä saa osallistua Suomen rallikilpailuihin". yle.fi (in Finnish). 31 January 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  12. ^ "Kalle Rovanperältä, 16, uskomaton debyytti SM-rallissa – heti komea voitto!". yle.fi (in Finnish). 18 February 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  13. ^ Oy, Kaakon Viestintä. "Kalle Rovanperä oli pitelemätön Kouvolan SM-rallissa – Kouvolan Sanomat" (in Finnish). Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  14. ^ "Kalle Rovanperällä, 16, kova haaste – vastustajat eivät tarvitse ollenkaan nuotteja" (in Finnish). Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  15. ^ "Nyt se on varmaa: Ihmekuski Kalle Rovanperä saa ajokortin alaikäisenä!" (in Finnish). Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  16. ^ "17-vuotias ralliteini jännitti inssiajoa – loppukuusta Rovanperä tekee historiaa Walesin MM-rallissa". yle.fi (in Finnish). 2 October 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  17. ^ "Rovanperä porhalsi kakkoseksi EM-rallissa". yle.fi (in Finnish). 8 October 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  18. ^ "WRC 2: Rovanperä makes his debut - wrc.com". www.wrc.com. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  19. ^ "Kalle Rovanperä hurjassa lyönnissä EM-rallissa! Voittotaistossa tekniikkaongelmista huolimatta". yle.fi (in Finnish). 7 October 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  20. ^ Rally Australia 2017 final results, WRC2
  21. ^ Rovanperän kausi käynnistyy Monte Carlosta – Gardemeisterin tallin kalustolla!
  22. ^ "Kalle Rovanperällä on mahdollisuus pistää Max Verstappenia paremmaksi – "Se on aina ollut tavoitteenani"". Iltalehti (in Finnish). 18 January 2022. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  23. ^ "What we learned from 2021 Acropolis Rally". DirtFish. 13 September 2021. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  24. ^ "Rovanpera takes WRC lead with emphatic Rally Sweden win". RACER. 27 February 2022. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  25. ^ "Rovanperä grabs last-gasp Croatia victory". WRC - World Rally Championship. 24 April 2022. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  26. ^ "HAT-TRICK HERO ROVANPERÄ SUPREME IN PORTUGAL". WRC- World Rally Championship. 22 May 2022.

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by World Rally Champion
2022
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Records
Preceded by Youngest rally winner
20 years, 289 days
(2021 Rally Estonia)
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
Colin McRae
27 years, 109 days
(1995 season)
Youngest World Rally Champion
22 years, 1 day
(2022 season)
Succeeded by
Incumbent