Mon 20 Nov 2023

Partial programme will help me ‘recharge’ for full-time return, says Kalle Rovanperä

Two-time WRC champion Kalle Rovanperä says his decision to drive part-time for Toyota Gazoo Racing in the 2024 FIA World Rally Championship will enable him to come back stronger in future seasons.

Confirmation of Rovanperä’s decision to take a step back next year arrived today (Monday) and came as a surprise to many - particularly as the 23-year-old secured his second consecutive drivers’ title less than one month ago.

But Rovanperä, who became the youngest title winner in history in 2022, feels the reduced programme has come at the right time. Despite his young age, the Finn started driving rally cars at the age of just eight, and the past 15 years of his life have been spent working towards his dream.

“This has been a big decision which you need to think about for a while,” he revealed exclusively to, “but I felt that now would be a good moment to have this kind of partial year.

“We have achieved a lot in the past years and now we can have a bit of a rest, let’s say, relax and charge the batteries for the future seasons which will be full seasons with the team. I think it’s going to be a good thing.”

Rovanperä explained how both Toyota and his co-driver Jonne Halttunen, who has guided him to both world titles, were supportive of his decision after he shared his plans earlier this year.

“In the beginning, it was a big surprise,” Rovanperä said, “but they took it really well. We agreed together that, if I want to do it, next year would be the best time. They fully understand the situation and they also understand that it should help for the future [for me] to drive longer and get better results.

“Jonne also took it really well,” he continued. “Of course, we speak about everything during the rallies and recces and everything, and Jonne also knew that it might be coming at some point. He was not really surprised, and he also agreed that we have been driving full-time already for a while, and it’s not a bad thing.”

It was also confirmed today that eight-time WRC champion Sébastien Ogier will continue to contest selected rounds aboard a GR Yaris Rally1, while Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta will complete full programmes

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