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Mon 28 Feb 2022

Kalle: ‘I never felt I had to go crazy’

Kalle Rovanperä admits he was taken aback that he didn’t need to take outlandish risks to win last weekend’s Rally Sweden.

Having taken the lead for a second time on Saturday morning, the Toyota Gazoo Racing driver repelled the challenge of team-mate Elfyn Evans on the blisteringly fast roads of the Västerbotten region to secure his third FIA World Rally Championship event win.

Before the start several drivers predicted this could be the fastest WRC event of all time. In the end it just crept into the all-time top 20 at an average of 121.5kph and the 21-year-old Finn said he never felt he had to gamble to protect his lead.

Asked if he was on the limit, Rovanperä said: “I would say in some places I was but surprisingly it was quite a good pace all weekend. I didn’t need to push over the limit, I didn’t feel at any point I needed to do something crazy, so it was a bit of a surprise even for me.

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“Other than that we always have small moments here and there where you are a bit over the limit. But the whole weekend we didn’t have any big mistakes and I’m really happy for that.”

The rally was Sweden’s most northerly WRC encounter ever, with the move to Umeä securing the ideal snow and ice conditions for which organisers craved at its previous location in Värmland.

The switch found favour with Rovanperä. “Of course it’s always good that we had proper snow conditions for the winter rally so it was good that we come a bit more north from the down [Värmland],” he said.

“Overall really fast stages, some of them were a bit too fast in some sections maybe, but other than that I would say nice stages and a difficult rally.”

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