Kalle Rovanperä

Rovanperä came to people’s attention when, aged just eight, a video of him drifting a small rally car through snowy forests like an expert went viral. Now, 15 years later, he’s the hottest property in the WRC with a record-breaking world title to prove it.

Nationality FIN
Date of birth 01.10.2000
Birthplace Jyväskylä, Finland
Jonne Halttunen
First WRC rally 2017, Wales Rally GB
First WRC stage win
2020, Rally Sweden SS11
WRC stage wins
First WRC podium
2020, Rally Sweden
WRC podiums
First WRC win
2021, Rally Estonia
WRC wins
First WRC Wolf Power Stage win
2020, Rally Sweden
WRC Wolf Power Stage wins
WRC titles 2(2022-23)
WRC support category titles
2019 WRC2 Pro
Social media facebook.com/KalleRovanperaRacing/

Rovanperä has rallying in his blood. His father, Harri, was a factory driver for several teams and won a WRC round in Sweden in 2001.

Because Finnish law doesn’t usually allow participation in rallies before the age of 18, Rovanperä went to Latvia, starting with rally sprints at the age of 12.

For the next couple of years, co-driver Risto Pietiläinen, father Harri’s former co-driver, had to drive the road sections. It didn’t stop young Kalle from winning the Latvian Junior Championship in 2015, following up with the main championship in 2016 and 2017 in a Škoda Fabia.

Rovanperä came under the patronage of manager legend Timo Jouhki, who sent him to the Italian Championship in 2016 for asphalt experience.

Rovanperä passed his driving test in 2017, a day after his 17th birthday, courtesy of a waiver by the Finnish government. He started Rally GB three weeks later and in the season finale in Australia he became the youngest driver ever to win a WRC2 round.

He signed for Škoda Motorsport in 2018 and drove a Fabia R5 in WRC2, finishing third with two wins. Twelve months later he became the youngest winner of a WRC title by topping WRC2 Pro for the Czech squad.

He joined Toyota for 2020 and on just his second event in Sweden he became the youngest podium finisher in WRC history at 19 years and 139 days.

In 2021, aged 20 years and 290 days, he became the youngest rally winner in WRC history in Estonia. He added another victory to his tally shortly afterwards in Greece, before ending the season in fourth.

The 2022 season - only Rovanperä’s third in the sport’s top-flight - was when he really hit the big time.

Aged just 22 years and one day old, he become the youngest champion in WRC history, clinching the title when he scored his sixth win of the year at Repco Rally New Zealand. In doing so, Rovanperä swept aside the record previously held by Colin McRae, who was more than 27 years old when he took the title in 1995.

Retaining the world title would be an even bigger challenge for the young Finn going into 2023 and, after completing the opening four rounds without a victory, some people questioned whether Rovanperä would be able to successfully defend his crown. 

A win in Portugal gave Rovanperä the boost he needed to kick-start his campaign and, while he also went on to win in Estonia and Greece, it was his consistency which utimately earned him world title number two. Aside from a high-speed crash on his home round, Rovanperä finished every single rally inside the top four. 

Shortly after the season finale in Japan, Rovanperä announced that he would be temporarily stepping back to a part-time 2024 campaign with Toyota. He'll contest selected rounds, starting with Rally Sweden in February.  

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM