Wed 26 Jun 2024

Rovanperä: Frantic Poland prep ‘not easy’

Kalle Rovanperä is under no illusions about the challenges he faces at ORLEN Rally Poland, having just over one day to complete his pre-event reconnaissance.

With Sébastien Ogier prevented from starting following a road traffic collision during reconnaissance on Tuesday, Toyota GAZOO Racing flew Rovanperä and co-driver Jonne Halttunen in as replacements just 48 hours before the start of the rally.

The Finn, who is contesting selected rounds of the championship this year after securing back-to-back titles in 2022 and 2023, revealed he was about to set out on his jet ski when he received a phone call from the team’s sporting director, Kaj Lindström, requesting his presence.

“It was a strange day yesterday,” Rovanperä admitted. “Of course, first of all it was good to hear at midday that Séb and Vincent are OK, that is the main thing. Then I got the call from Kaj. I was just changing some spark plugs on my jet-ski to go on the lake and he called…I knew what it was about.

“The team made the call for us to come here. Of course, Jonne and I were not prepared at all so it was not an easy decision to come here, but we wanted to help the team as much as we can with the manufacturer points, they are crucial this year, hopefully we can do that.”

While all other crews began their reconnaissance on Tuesday, Rovanperä and Halttunen started on Wednesday morning. Event stewards have authorised the pair additional time to complete their preparations, with an extended recce schedule running into Thursday morning.

“We need to do almost the whole recce in one day,” explained the 23-year-old. Of course, having not watched videos or anything before it will be quite a tough evening and tomorrow trying to learn something what we can. It will be not easy with this schedule.

“[We have had] no test in the car for this rally, we need to see in the shakedown if we are in the correct way. Of course, in a rally like this I would want to fight for the win, maybe this week it is not really so easy to do, but we will of course do our best to bring some good points for the team.”

ORLEN 80th Rally Poland gets underway on Thursday evening with a super special stage around the perimeter of the event’s Mikołajki service park. Nineteen stages, totaling 303.16km of competitive action, are included before Sunday afternoon’s finish.

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