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Wed 24 May 2023

Rovanperä plays down Italy victory hopes

FIA World Rally Championship leader Kalle Rovanperä has dismissed talk of winning from the front at next week’s Rally Italia Sardegna (1 - 4 June).

The Finn has never topped the podium on the Italian island. His best result came on his debut at the rally, when he won WRC2 Pro and finished ninth overall in a Škoda Fabia Rally2 in 2019. Since moving to Toyota he’s crashed, suffered mechanical problems and limped to fifth after a 2022 event where he simply couldn’t find comfort in the GR Yaris Rally1.

“It’s not my favourite rally,” said the 22-year-old defending champion. “I don’t think it’s possible to win from the front, I can’t really see it happening. Of course, we try and we will push for the good result and try to have a good weekend, but first on the road on Friday will be tricky.”

Having not won since September last year, Rovanperä scored his maiden WRC success as a world champion at Vodafone Rally de Portugal earlier this month.

Sardinia is traditionally one of the events which cleans the most, with the championship leader served up the worst of the conditions on the opening day. Long-range weather forecasts will give Rovanperä a glimmer of hope with some rain possible – but with temperatures closing on 30 degrees, the roads will dry quickly after any bursts of rain.