Thu 10 Mar 2022

Kalle keen to learn Croatia lessons

For the second season in succession Kalle Rovanperä will lead the FIA World Rally Championship standings into Croatia – but the Finn is determined not to make the same mistake he made 12 months ago.

The Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 driver’s victory in Sweden has powered him to the top of the table and, therefore, first into the Croatia Rally stages next month.

Rovanperä starts round three with a 14-point lead over the man who followed him home in Umeå, Thierry Neuville.

“I’m looking forward to Croatia,” said the Finn, “but I hope the result will be different to last year when I was leading the championship for the first time.”

Rovanperä crashed out of the WRC’s first visit to Croatia close to the end of the opening test. He drifted wide on a right bend, plunging down a bank and coming to rest against a tree. The car was heavily damaged and Rovanperä was unable to restart.

Video: Kalle Rovanperä crashes in Croatia

“Going out early means I don’t know those roads as well as the other crews,” he said, “but let’s see. I’m happy with what we did in Sweden. It was a quite difficult weekend, but in the end I came away with more confidence in the car and with some good points.

”The Zagreb-based 21 - 24 April event offers teams a first all-asphalt fixture of the year, with the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo featuring snow and ice on its route through the sealed-surface roads of the French Alps.

Toyota Gazoo Racing technical director Tom Fowler has high hopes for Rovanperä next month.

“There’s no doubt that Kalle’s a very intelligent driver,” said Fowler, “and he will have learned a lot from what happened last year. But don’t forget, he was the first driver in and he found what was a very tricky section – a section where Sébastien Ogier came close to going off as well.”

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