Monday | 28 Nov 2022

Kalle: Championship will be tight in 2023

2022 FIA World Rally Champion Kalle Rovanperä says he expects his rivals from Hyundai and M-Sport Ford to be even closer to his Toyota next season.

The Finn clinched this year’s crown with two rallies to spare after an all-conquering performance through the season’s first half - becoming, in the process, the WRC’s youngest-ever champion. 

Hyundai bounced back from a slow start to demonstrate the potential of its i20 N Rally1 and had racked up five victories by the season’s end. It’s that second half performance that concerns Rovanperä.

After winning five from the first seven rounds of the series, the 22-year-old Toyota star was 83 points clear. But across the next six rallies, his advantage was trimmed by 33 points as Hyundai upped the tempo.

“I think it’s going to be much, much closer next year,” said Rovanperä, who also became Finland’s first world champion in 20 years. 

“We made a good start this season and straight away the GR Yaris was working really well with the new regulations, but we have seen the others coming strong also. We will have to step up again to stay in the fight.

“[The] team knows this and we all know we have work to do – also on our side. There are places where we can get better and hopefully we will do that.” 

All three teams will land into the 2023 season with a revised driver line-up and technical revisions as they build on the first year of running hybrid-powered Rally1 cars.

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