The winds of change are blowing in the FIA World Rally Championship, and 17-year-old Kalle Rovanperä is at the forefront of the impending storm! While much is made of young drivers in Formula 1 with the likes of Sebastian Vettel and in more recent years Max Verstappen showing up their elders, Rovanperä is looking to make his own mark in offroad competition.
With circuit racing there is plenty of options for young drivers, making their way up through karting and in to single-seater racing, but for offroad there isn’t as much of an option, but this hasn’t stopped the son of former World Rally Championship driver Harri Rovanperä.
By the age of 13, Kalle had graduated in to competition, and speaking in the latest issue of The Red Bulletin, he reveals, “There wouldn’t be any sense in just driving. You either go flat out or you do something else”, with limited opportunities in his homeland, it was Latvia that opened doors for future rally star, as no road licence is required to enter rallies.”
“It was difficult to convince people that I could compete, that I was good enough,” he says. “My father had to ask for permissions in Latvia and Estonia. For me, going into rallying so young was not so difficult, because I had driven a lot before that. I don’t really know what other people thought about me beforehand, but afterwards I think they thought I was kind of OK.”
Although Latvia gave him the opportunity to compete on a competitive basis, there was still a hurdle to get over before making his WRC debut in 2017… his driving test.
“Was there pressure? Maybe a little bit,” he smiled, when asked about the test.
“Quite a few things were dependant on getting my licence – the Wales Rally GB being a major one. But in the end it was easy. No problem at all.”
Rovanperä has the world at his feet, and will no doubt be a future contender for the World Championship, for the 2018 season he will be behind the wheel of the Skoda Fabia R5.
Source: The Checkered Flag Image: Red Bull Content Pool