Home Sports Rovanperä, aged 22 and one day, is the youngest winner of the Rally World Championship

Rovanperä, aged 22 and one day, is the youngest winner of the Rally World Championship

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Rovanperä, aged 22 and one day, is the youngest winner of the Rally World Championship

Twenty years after the last time, a Finnish driver has returned to win the world rally title. The company, because it is a business since the new world champion turned 22 one day ago, on October 1, succeeded in Kalle Rovanperä. Before him, seven other compatriots had managed to secure the same laurel: Makku Alén, Ari Vatanen, Hannu Mikkola, Timo Salonen, Juha Kankkunen, Tommi Mäkinen and, in 2002, Marcus Grönholm. In the curriculum of the very young ace of the steering wheel there is also the participation in the 2017 Italian rally championship with the Peugeot 208 T16, however without particular results. In the same season, Rovanperä also took part in the national reviews of Latvia and Finland with the Skoda Fabia R5, racing only thanks to a special license since he was not even 17 years old. In October he made his debut in a world championship, the Wales Rally, at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta R5 from the M-Sport team. A month later he also won his first world point by finishing tenth in the Australian stage of the WRC, becoming the youngest to do so.

With the victory in Estonia in July of last year he had snatched from his main team, compatriot Jari-Matti Latvala, the record of the youngest driver to win a race in the world championship. The success conquered in the Italian night in New Zealand, the eighth of his career in 49 starts (the sixth this year in eleven races), earned him the world title and a new record, paraded by the British Colin McRae, who was 27 years and 89 days when, in 1985, he became world champion with the Subaru Impreza 555.

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Mattia Eccheli

The trinomial Rovanperä, Jonne Hattunen (the navigator) and Toyota Gazoo Racing (the team that hired him in 2020 and with which he had won the first podium, third place, already in the second race, in the Rally of Sweden) can write a new history page.

With the GR Yaris plug-in, the young Finn obtained his first title after having missed the knockout blow in Belgium and Greece: in any case, the success came with two races ahead of the calendar, which still includes races on the asphalt of Spain and Japan. At the finish line, Rovanperä spoke almost of a «liberation»: «It is a certain relief to have arrived here after this great season. We had to wait a bit after some difficult rallies. My biggest thanks go to the team for making this missile this year, ”he said. The words of a champion who will be talked about for a long time and who took the baton from his teammate, the 38-year-old Sébastien Ogier (second in New Zealand), who together with the other Frenchman Sébastien Loeb (48) dominated the specialty in this initial part of the Third Millennium: 17 titles in 18 championships (9 Loeb, 8 Ogier) between 2004 and 2021 (only in 2019 the victory was not played by the Marseillaise, thanks to the Estonian Ott Tänak).

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