WRC presents for birthday boy Rovanperä

Sixteen-year-old Kalle Rovanperä will become one of the youngest drivers to contest a WRC rally when he makes his debut at Dayinsure Wales Rally GB next month - so long as he passes his driving test.

The youngster turns 17 on 1 October, and will take the practical element of his driving test at home in Finland the day after. All being well, he will start the penultimate round of the championship in Great Britain 24 days later, driving an M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5 in the WRC 2 category.
 
A second outing is planned in the car at the championship's final round, Kennards Hire Rally Australia (16 – 19 November), before a more comprehensive programme in 2018. 
 
“He’s about the same as Jari-Matti [Latvala] was when he first came,” M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson told Motorsport News. 
 
“There’s always something really exciting about seeing these young guys progress. Having him with us for GB and Australia is fantastic news – he’s going to be a real talking point on the last two rounds of this year’s world championship.”

Kalle and his WRC driver father, Harri.

Rovanperä hopes to follow in the tracks of his father Harri, who was a works driver in the WRC with SEAT, Peugeot, Mitsubishi and Skoda between 1993 and 2006 and who won Rally Sweden in 2001.
 
Kalle first made headlines when a video of him drifting a Toyota Starlet on snow became a YouTube hit. He was only eight at the time.
 
More recently, he won the 2016 national championship in Latvia, where the driving age is lower, and has driven in the 2017 Finnish – winning two rounds – and Italian championships with licence dispensations.
 
Rovanperä has already tested the Fiesta in the UK, and he will get another opportunity before Wales Rally GB.
 
His manager Timo Jouhki confirmed that further WRC 2 outings in the M-Sport Fiesta were an option next year, but with Kalle recently confirmed as a finalist in Hyundai's young driver development scheme, there is a chance he will drive a Hyundai i20 R5 instead.

Video: Harri Rovanpera's WRC victory at 2001 Rally Sweden

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