Tue 11 Apr 2023

Rovanperä braced for tight Croatia fight

This time last year, Kalle Rovanperä was the Toyota driver with two wins from three starts to his name.

The lack of a 2023 win to his name is no stress for the Finn. He remains right at the sharp end of a title fight which is just beginning, four points adrift of championship-leading team-mate Sébastien Ogier.

But he’s also looking forward to the potential for a podium-topping fight in Croatia next week (20 - 23 April).

Rovanperä won a final-stage thriller against Ott Tänak in Zagreb last year, ending the event just 4.3sec clear of his Estonian rival. More of that would bode nicely for the defending world champion.

“Mexico wasn’t such an easy weekend for us,” he said. “To finish fourth from our starting position gave us some decent points, but I was hoping for more from the [Wolf] Power Stage. Now it’s Croatia, where we should be coming with a better place on the road. Hopefully [Croatia Rally] will be better and hopefully we can be fighting there.

“I have a good memory of this event from last year, but it’s a tricky event – difficult conditions if the weather is changing. Let’s see.”

Rovanperä heads to Zagreb crucially just one point down on second-placed Thierry Neuville – his nearest full-time rival for this year’s championship.

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