Kalle Rovanperä returned to the rally car wheel – the young promise jumped into the master’s ride

Toyota's WRC team's Finnish star Kalle Rovanperä returned to the rally car wheel on Tuesday in Central Finland.
Kalle Rovanperä
Kalle Rovanperä. Photo: Toni Heinonen.
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Rovanperä tested on Toyota’s own test area with an eye on next week’s Rally Latvia. In the morning, the Toyota driver was able to drive in dry and sunny weather. In the afternoon, however, it rained, so Rovanperä gained experience in a variety of different conditions.

Also present at the tests was the young talent Sami Pajari, who received his baptism of fire in a Rally1 car yesterday. Pajari, who will drive his first race in the top class at Rally Finland at the beginning of August, closely followed the master’s progress. In the afternoon, Pajari also jumped into the passenger seat with Rovanperä.

The two-time world champion has been busy in recent weeks, as Rovanperä first received a quick alert at the end of June for Rally Poland, from which the man travelled straight to circuit car tests in Imola.

After the test day for the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux series, Rovanperä managed to rest for a couple of days, before heading back to Imola, where Rovanperä bagged his first career circuit racing victory last weekend.

Kalle Rovanperä. Photo: Pentti-Oskari Ilmonen

For Rally Latvia, Rovanperä gets traditional preparation. After Poland’s tought week, careful and precise pre-work will be necessary. Toyota’s toughest competitor Hyundai has, however, been testing in the Baltics in recent weeks. Additionally, Esapekka Lappi and Thierry Neuville will drive a test rally in Lithuania near the Latvian border next weekend. Besides his own test day, Rovanperä has good data from the Rally Poland, but of course, tests in the target country would always be the best option.

“It has felt pretty good. It’s nice to be able to prepare for the next rally better than the previous one. It’s quite nice to be speeding around here,” Rovanperä told RallyJournal.com during his tests on Tuesday.

“These are important tests, especially considering Finland. The roads and gravel in Latvia are quite different, but we don’t have the option to drive there like others have had. We’ll try to get the settings right here as well.

Watch below how Rovanperä commanded Toyota’s Rally1 car in Central Finland on Tuesday.

Rovanperä and co-driver Jonne Halttunen travelled to Poland only on Tuesday evening, after a whole day of recce had already been done. The Finnish ace does not want to go through that again.

“I don’t know if we learned anything other than it’s pretty tough to go through a week like that, as Jonne and I did. It’s good that it paid off, so it wasn’t a wasted effort. It was a bit of a different rally week. I certainly don’t want to do it again, but now it’s done, and fortunately, it was worth it,” Rovanperä laughed.

Although the quick preparation brought a victory from Poland, video sessions will not be regularly skipped before the rounds.

“It’s a lot easier when you watch beforehand, so you don’t have to watch videos all night during the rally week. It was a pretty tough set, sleeping short nights and trying to get everything ready.”

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