Thursday | 27 Aug 2020

Can Kalle spring Estonia surprise?

Teenage sensation Kalle Rovanperä heads into next week’s FIA World Rally Championship restart at Rally Estonia (4 - 6 September) with the tag of underdog firmly fixed upon his back.

That’s because world champion and Estonian hero Ott Tänak sits as favourite in most people’s view, but 19-year-old Rovanperä is primed and ready to ruffle feathers in his Toyota Yaris.

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Finn finished second to Hyundai Motorsport’s Tänak on Sunday’s Lõuna-Eesti Ralli, ending the 101km warm-up event just 13sec behind the i20 man.

Typically relaxed about the result and his chances on Estonia’s maiden WRC counter next week, Rovanperä said: “We found some things last week and we were still making things better [with the car], so that’s good.

Video: Rally Estonia

“I tried to keep the pressure on Ott during the rally, but really it wasn’t so important [to win]. I made some mistakes on the first loop of stages, but after that we were making a lot of changes trying to find a good set-up for Rally Estonia.”

The gravel road fixture will be Rovanperä’s fourth start in a factory World Rally Car. He claimed a sensational Rally Sweden podium, edging team-mate Sébastien Ogier to third place in February, and is hoping for similar speed and consistency next week.

“I’m from Finland… I like the fast roads,” he said. “I think we can make a good pace next week and it can be a nice rally for us. I think we can have a lot of fans coming over from Finland which will be nice as well.

“It will be good to start back again. In shakedown for the rally last week, I was searching a bit for the feeling, but once we got into the event then everything felt quite normal,” he added.

Rovanperä was back in the Yaris again today (Thursday), running through the team’s pre-Rally Turkey test in Greece.

• 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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