Monday | 19 Jul 2021

Latvala proud to pass on record

Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala has talked of his pride at passing on the mantle of being the World Rally Championship’s youngest winner to his countryman Kalle Rovanperä.

Latvala’s record – set when he won Rally Sweden aged 22 in 2008 – was passed to the 20-year-old Rally Estonia winner on Sunday.

“I took this record from Henri [Toivonen],” said Latvala. “And now Kalle has taken it from me. We have had so much French domination of the World Rally Championship, it’s nice to keep something, some kind of tradition, for the Finns! I’m proud for this.”

Rovanperä landed win number one with a dominant drive through the Tartu-based event – but Latvala admitted the victory had been on the cards since last season.

 

He added: “Looking at the performance of Kalle already at the end of 2020, you could feel that it’s coming. I said at the beginning of this season that there are two events that I do believe that Kalle has a high chance to take the victory, they were Arctic Rally [Finland] and Rally Estonia.

“Arctic Rally, he was in a very good speed but, unfortunately, the car wasn’t exactly at its best, set-up-wise and he couldn’t really in the end fight for the victory.

“But after coming with the four quite demanding rallies for Kalle, his motivation was 120 percent and the passion to get your first victory, you could see that he was really committed from the shakedown onwards.

“I am really happy for him and, of course, for the team. He drove with some incredible speed at times – especially in stage 10 on Saturday morning. I believe this is the stage that won him the rally.”

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