Tuesday | 13 Jul 2021

Is Rovanperä the man for Estonia?

He might only be 20 years old. He might only be in his second full season in the FIA World Rally Championship, but Kalle Rovanperä can boast more experience than most on Rally Estonia’s (15 - 18 July) roads.

And that’s part of the reason why Toyota Gazoo Racing team principal Jari-Matti Latvala believes Rovanperä has a strong chance of securing his maiden WRC victory on Sunday.

Rovanperä cut his teeth competing in Estonia and neighbouring Latvia. As a Finn, he is already a fan of the fast roads, but those formative years have given him an insight into what’s needed to win in Estonia.

Last year, he led the event before a puncture dropped him time on the third stage. He finished fifth and Latvala is confident there’s more to come this week.

Video: Rally Estonia preview

“I think Kalle’s chance is high in Estonia,” he said. “He has a good place on the road (sixth) and he has already shown – in Estonia last year – as well as in Arctic earlier this season that he can do really well on these kind of events.

“The place on the road could be important for Kalle. Estonia, like Finland, has had a very, very warm summer and I believe there will be a lot of loose on the surface.”

Rovanperä led the previous WRC round in Kenya last month being forced to retire when his Yaris became bogged down in fesh-fesh late in the opening day.

Latvala added: “Safari, we saw some really good speed there and I believe the performance is there. Things haven’t clicked for him yet, but I think there is a high chance they will this week.”

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Estonia countdown – rally route

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Rovanperä admitted he was just looking for a change in fortunes, having retired from Portugal and Sardinia with technical reasons.

“I have always liked the fast rallies like Estonia, the fast and flowing roads suit me really well, and you can also feel that the Yaris likes these kinds of roads. It’s important to be confident in your car and in yourself on a rally like this or you can lose a lot of time.

“I’m really looking forward to turn things in a better direction for us in the second half of the season, and I think Estonia can be a good event for that. I hope we will have a good feeling and a clean rally, and then hopefully we can start to have good results again,” he added.

• Full coverage from Rally Estonia will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.

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