ROVANPERA TESTS YARIS AFTER LATVIAN OUTINGS
Fifteen-year-old Kalle Rovanpera tested a Toyota Yaris WRC for the first time earlier this month.
Son of one-time world rally winner Harri, Kalle is understood to have been conducting some endurance tests on the Toyota in eastern Finland.
Team principal Tommi Makinen confirmed he is considering this option earlier in the season, telling MN: “If we have time, it would be interesting to see Kalle in the car and to see what he can do.”
Rovanpera, who was present with his father and manager Timo Jouhki at Rally Germany, said: “I didn’t do so much driving, maybe 18 or 25 miles. It was incredible to drive the car, a real honour for me to be in it. I am driving a [Skoda Fabia] R5 car at the moment, so the power and the downforce were very big things for me to get used to. The car was fantastic – I’m not sure I know how to describe it!”
Rovanpera was back in action aboard the Fabia, dominating last weekend’s Tallinn Rally in Estonia to win by more than a minute despite an engine problem on the opening day. Tallinn qualified for the Latvian Rally Championship and Rovanpera has won two of the five LRC rounds he’s started this year and finished second on the other three. He’s already got his eyes on the world stage.
“I am 15 for one more month,” he said. “I know I can’t compete in Finland until I’m 18, but there are places to go when I’m 17. It was really interesting to go to Germany, that was my first ever asphalt WRC round. I couldn’t drive the stages myself – I have no licence – but my dad drove them and I watched. They were really tricky in places.”
Rovanpera junior toured the service park meeting team principals – including M-sport’s Malcolm Wilson.