Interview with Kalle Rovanperä

Kalle Rovanpera, the driver who has written history in WRC in 2021, accepted the invitation of WRC Fanatix and answered to all our questions.

Q: Hello Kalle! First of all, thank you for your time and for saying yes to this interview. Except from the history you wrote last year and your gather wrote in WRC, a number of people know you via a video on YouTube when you were 8 years old. Could you share with us how it all started in your rallying career?

A: Like you said, I started driving cars quite young, when I was seven years old. I don’t remember so much because I was so young. I had been riding motorbikes and quad bikes before that but once I started driving a rally car I knew I didn’t want to do anything else. When I was 13 I was able to start competing in rallies in Latvia. My co-driver had to drive on the road sections because I didn’t have a license for the road.

Q: Your name is connected to rallying because of your father. Did you feel any pressure because of that? What was your father’s advice when you started rallying and when you debuted in WRC?

A: Of course, there was quite a lot of attention because people knew my father but I don’t think I felt so much pressure. Certainly, he was not putting too much pressure on me. Of course, when I started driving he was helping me a lot, teaching me the best way to drive and things like this. And when I started in WRC he was giving me a lot of advice about different topics because he had been there too.

Q: You started your rallying career in a positive way. Firstly, you became a Latvian Champion and after that a WRC2Pro Champion. How did you feel when Skoda contacted with you and it said that it wanted you to drive for the team?

A: It was really nice to hear that, because I was still very young and I didn’t have much experience in WRC. So, it was cool that they trusted me and wanted me to drive for them.

Q: After having clinched your first title in WRC2Pro, Toyota wanted you to join the team. How did you feel then?

This was a really special moment I must say, because it was a dream for me to drive for a WRC team and I had been working really hard to achieve that.

Q: You had Tommi Makinen as a team boss and now you have Jari-Matti Latvala. How is it like to work with them and what will you keep from them?

A: For sure it has been really nice for me to work with them. They have a lot of experience from their careers and they know what it’s like to be a driver. They have given me lots of advice which has really helped me.

Q: In Estonia, you took your first ever win in WRC and you broke the record of your team boss and became the youngest driver in WRC history who won a WRC event. I have to admit that I could not believe it and my hands were shaking until and after the finish line. What do you remember from this day?

A: I remember that it felt really good. We had been waiting for a result like this and it was a really special feeling to achieve it, also because I think the whole weekend was really strong for us.

Q: Two events later, you took your second win last season and in your WRC career. Did you expect to win in Greece? It was your first time there.

For sure I did not expect to win there at all. Before, I thought that this kind of rougher rallies don’t suit me so well, but we had a really good weekend. I think the fact that everybody had to make new pacenotes was helping us a bit because it made it more equal, and also that the conditions were not so dry and hot as expected maybe suited us.

Q: A number of people including me believe that you will be a future WRC champion maybe this year. Did you feel nervous about this?

A: No, I don’t feel nervous about this. It’s nice to hear that people think you can achieve this and it is my goal to be champion one day. Whether we can do it this year or next year I don’t know, but we will try our best.

Q: Oliver Solberg will compete in WRC this year with Hyundai and he is considered as one of the future WRC stars such as you. Are you looking forward to fighting with Oliver for the championship?

A: It will be nice to race against Oliver a bit more this year. We are a similar age and we have known each other for a few years now, and maybe we will have some nice battles in the future.

Q: WRC enters to a new era this year and you have spent time inside your new car. Would you like to tell us your first impression with the hybrid GR Yaris?

A: For sure the new cars are quite different to before and there is a lot to get used to. There is more power and they are trickier to drive. Monte Carlo was a difficult start for me but our car looked quite strong during the weekend and the feeling for me is getting better all the time.

Q: Since this season just started, what is your goal for 2022?

This year everybody has a big challenge to adapt to the new cars, and my aim is to get as a good feeling in the car as possible and hopefully be competing for rally wins again this year.

Photo Credits: Toyota, Skoda

P.S. I would like to thank Kalle Rovanpera for his time and of course Hans De Baux for his collaboration!!

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post