Flying teenager Rovanpera continues to make history with win
Finnish star Kalle Rovanpera made more history on Saturday, when he won the SM Vaakuna Rally on his competitive debut in his home country.
At 16, Rovanpera is still two years too young to compete officially. He was driving his Skoda Fabia R5 on the Mikkeli event with a waiver from the Finnish federation. He arrived at the start of the rally with a 100 per cent record in the Latvian Championship – winning two from two – and continued that trend at home.
Slowed initially by a puncture, the son of one-time world rally winner Harri Rovanpera battled back for victory, posting two impressive times in the dark.
“Apart from the puncture it was a nice day,” said Rovanpera Jr. “And even on a good day you tend to have some troubles like that. This was simply a remarkable victory for me. I am feeling great! The times were good when I took it steady and drove cleanly. But sometimes I wanted to drive a bit wild and it showed immediately in the times.”
Rovanpera beat Teemu Asunmaa, also in a Fabia R5 in second place. Multiple Finnish champion Juha Salo was third in his Peugeot 208 T16, while Jarkko Nikara was fourth and top non-r5 car. The Subaru-driving Finn is being co-driven by Japanese Sayaka Adachi, who is part of the Toyota team’s training scheme.
Rovanpera competed under a special waiver