Tue 12 Sep 2023

Lindström: “He’s young, but he’s bloody clever”

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Kaj Lindström believes it was Kalle Rovanperä’s “smart” approach to EKO Acropolis Rally Greece which earned the youngster his third victory of the 2023 season.

With team principal Jari-Matti Latvala busy driving a GR Yaris Rally2 Concept to victory at Rally Hokkaido in Japan, sporting director Lindström oversaw a 1-2 finish for Rovanperä and Elfyn Evans at the FIA World Rally Championship’s 10th round last week.

On a rally which saw the likes of Sébastien Ogier and Thierry Neuville experience major dramas, defending champion Rovanperä was one of few top-line drivers to enjoy a trouble-free run on his way to victory by over one and a half minutes.

“He’s young, but he’s bloody clever,” Lindström said of the 22-year-old Finn. “I think he was the smartest guy in this rally.

“[Kalle] can see where you need to push and take everything out from the car, and also sees the places where you have to take it a bit more gentle and save the car. He did a remarkable job. When you speak with him and hear his comments, it’s very difficult to think that this guy was actually born in the year of 2000.”

Last week’s result was a stark contrast to Toyota’s at the 2022 Acropolis, when Takamoto Katsuta was the highest-finishing GR Yaris driver in sixth overall.

“There were not so many happy faces on Sunday this time last year,” Lindström agreed. “Obviously everybody in the team wants to improve. There was some homework to do, and clearly some work has been done.

“But every rally, even now when we have a 1-2, we will go and look back through this rally and analyse how the car worked, how everything worked. When there are things to improve, we have to focus on it.”

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