Toyota backs Rovanpera to stay cool under home rally pressure

Toyota World Rally Championship boss Jari-Matti Latvala is confident his young charger Kalle Rovanpera won’t buckle under the pressure and expectation to deliver a home victory at Rally Finland.

Rovanpera heads into his home event as favourite boosted by the best run of form of his fledgling WRC career to date, after scoring his maiden victory in Estonia followed by a third in Ypres and a standout win last time out at the Acropolis Rally.

Based in Finland, the Toyota WRC team has won each of the previous three Rally Finlands with the current generation Yaris and will field five entries this weekend - with Esapekka Lappi making a WRC return.

While acknowledging expectations will be high to deliver another victory as the event marks its 70th edition, Latvala believes his team will use the pressure as a motivational tool.

"For sure there is always pressure at the home round," said Latvala.

"We also have the other side which is that you get more energy and more motivation from the home crowd and this will help you do a better performance because they are boosting us and the drivers to do better.

"We have more pressure but I feel it is more positive than negative.

"Kalle is an extremely cool guy. We saw in Greece that he is not really taking the pressure and he can handle his emotions really well.

"I'm not worried at all even though it is a home rally as he has these really great characteristics at being so cool and calm.

"Of course internally he could be feeling some pressure but I'm not too worried about that. I'm confident he will be fine."

Kalle Rovanperä, Jonne Halttunen, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Kalle Rovanperä, Jonne Halttunen, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Photo by: Toyota Racing

For 20-year-old Rovanpera, a victory on home soil to join the likes of Finnish rally heroes Hannu Mikkola, Marcus Gronholm and Tommi Makinen would be a "big thing", especially on the event's 70th anniversary.

However, he is not getting ahead of himself and is expecting a close fight with the Hyundais that have shown an improvement in pace on fast gravel rallies this year.

"I feel good. Of course having a few good rallies under the belt now feels good and a home rally is always a nice feeling," said Rovanpera.

"I think there is a lot of expectations for us but we are trying to do a normal rally like anywhere else in the world and try to do a good result like we always aim to do.

Read Also:

"It would be a big thing [to win]. I think it is always for every driver the home rally is one of the most important ones I think we will wait for Sunday to think about that.

"Of course previously this has been a really good event for our team and car but this year we have seen that Hyundai has been improving on fast rallies so I think they will be fast there. I'm expecting it to be a tight fight."

Rally Finland begins on Friday with six special stages including the event's first night stage since 1994.

shares
comments
Hyundai needs to "throw everything" at beating Toyota - Tanak

Previous article

Hyundai needs to "throw everything" at beating Toyota - Tanak

Next article

Solberg unharmed after WRC Rally Finland recce accident

Solberg unharmed after WRC Rally Finland recce accident
Load comments
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Prime

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021
The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0 Prime

The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0

Two decades after Petter Solberg emerged as a World Rally Championship winner, his son Oliver is ready to take the WRC by storm. Having secured a part-time WRC factory drive for Hyundai in 2022, he's raring to repay the marque's faith in him and follow in his 2003 champion father's footsteps

WRC
Oct 14, 2021
Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season Prime

Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season

The World Rally Championship will step into a new hybrid era in 2022, but the car changes haven't been the only excitement that has built within the paddock. WRC's 'silly season' kicked off in a big way and all the key driver moves for 2022 - of which there are many - look set to shake things up.

WRC
Oct 13, 2021
Why winning in Finland was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age Prime

Why winning in Finland was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age

By his own admission, the fifth World Rally Championship victory of Elfyn Evans' career in Finland last weekend was the drive of his life. Winning five stages in a row and soaking up huge pressure from the Hyundais on the fastest gravel stages around, the Welshman put in a faultless showing that proved what he is truly made of

WRC
Oct 4, 2021
Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant? Prime

Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains Prime

How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Prime

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Prime

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021