MOTORSPORT NEWS Rally

CAN KALLE SPRING ESTONIA SURPRISE?

Teenage sensation Kalle Rovanperä heads into next week’s FIA World Rally Championship restart at Rally Estonia (4 – 6 September) with the tag of underdog firmly fixed upon his back.

That’s because world champion and Estonian hero Ott Tänak sits as favourite in most people’s view, but 19-year-old Rovanperä is primed and ready to ruffle feathers in his Toyota Yaris.

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Finn finished second to Hyundai Motorsport’s Tänak on Sunday’s Lõuna-Eesti Ralli, ending the 101km warm-up event just 13sec behind the i20 man.

Typically relaxed about the result and his chances on Estonia’s maiden WRC counter next week, Rovanperä said: “We found some things last week and we were still making things better [with the car], so that’s good.

“I tried to keep the pressure on Ott during the rally, but really it wasn’t so important [to win]. I made some mistakes on the first loop of stages, but after that we were making a lot of changes trying to find a good set-up for Rally Estonia.”

The gravel road fixture will be Rovanperä’s fourth start in a factory World Rally Car. He claimed a sensational Rally Sweden podium, edging team-mate Sébastien Ogier to third place in February, and is hoping for similar speed and consistency next week.

“I’m from Finland… I like the fast roads,” he said. “I think we can make a good pace next week and it can be a nice rally for us. I think we can have a lot of fans coming over from Finland which will be nice as well.

“It will be good to start back again. In shakedown for the rally last week, I was searching a bit for the feeling, but once we got into the event then everything felt quite normal,” he added.

Source: wrc.com