Latvala: Rovanpera has matured "five years" this WRC season

Toyota World Rally Championship boss Jari-Matti Latvala believes Kalle Rovanpera is a complete rally driver and has matured “five years” this season.

Latvala: Rovanpera has matured "five years" this WRC season

Rovanpera once again underlined his potential after recording a dominant performance to score a second career win at last weekend's Acropolis Rally.

The 20-year-old, who became the WRC's youngest ever winner at July's Rally Estonia, blitzed his rivals on Greece's famous gravel tests, winning eight of the 15 stages to beat Hyundai's Ott Tanak by 42.1s and claim the Power Stage bonus points.

It was Rovanpera's fourth podium of the season after a second on the snow at Arctic Rally Finland and wins on gravel in Estonia and Greece that sandwiched a third on tarmac in Belgium last month.

Latvala believes that Rovanpera has proved he is the complete the driver and is expecting more victories from the new flying Finn, but is aware not to put too much pressure on the rising star.

"When you are able to drive on the snow, tarmac and gravel then you are a complete driver. I mean Kalle has the performance on all the surfaces," said Latvala.

"If you win your second event of this season, which I would say is his first full season in the WRC because last year I don't count as a full season because of COVID, so he must have the elements to become a world champion," he added, when asked if he thought Rovanpera is world champion material.

"But I want to remind also, as Seb Ogier knows, winning the championship is difficult. You need to have a bit of luck and you need all the things to come together so that is another challenge.

"For sure Kalle has achieved one step on his career and we will see great performances and great victories from him, but let's not too much pressure on the young guy yet."

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

Having closely watched Rovanpera's progress since joining the Toyota WRC team last year, Latvala feels his driver has matured significantly this season.

"It is really amazing to see his performance and how calm and how mature he is," he said.

"He's been growing up during this year he has taken a five-year step forward with how he is and his personality.

Read Also:

Reflecting on his victory, Rovanpera admitted that he didn't expect to be comfortable on the challenging Greece stages and was unsure if this drive was better than his victory in Estonia.

"It is difficult to say if this was [a better drive] but I would say Estonia I was expecting it a bit more and I think everyone else also knew I could really be fast there," said Rovanpera.

"Coming here there was more a question mark about our pace overall; we couldn't be so sure what is the pace, but I think again when we knew this year it would be a new event in the calendar not everybody knew the stages, so it always helps as everybody has to make new notes.

"I think we showed quite well on the first loops that we can be really quick when the others don't have the experience of the previous years. I think it was a really good race from us, I don't know which one was better."

Rovanpera sits fourth in the championship standings only seven points behind second-placed Evans heading into Rally Finland next month.

shares
comments

Related video

Greece WRC: Rovanpera claims Acropolis Rally victory in style

Previous article

Greece WRC: Rovanpera claims Acropolis Rally victory in style

Next article

Oliver Solberg secures Hyundai WRC return in Spain

Oliver Solberg secures Hyundai WRC return in Spain
Load comments
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
Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit? Prime

Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit?

OPINION: The Ypres Rally featured a cameo from the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in its final stage, giving WRC teams the chance to experience its iconic corners in rallying machinery. It proved to be an engaging addition to the rally, and could perhaps serve as an example for other events to visit famous circuits

WRC
Aug 24, 2021
Home hero Neuville delivers overdue WRC success for Hyundai in Belgium Prime

Home hero Neuville delivers overdue WRC success for Hyundai in Belgium

With limited recent fortune and pressure starting to mount, Hyundai needed a big result at the Ypres Rally. All the key components came together in Belgium to see home hero Thierry Neuville lead a manufacturer 1-2 and kickstart its World Rally Championship challenge

WRC
Aug 16, 2021
The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree Prime

The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree

M-Sport has become the first to unveil its new-for-2022 hybrid World Rally Championship challenger, the Puma Rally1. Ford has upped its support in a bid for glory, but can the new machine roll back the years and return the Blue Oval to the top of the WRC tree?

WRC
Aug 12, 2021
The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies Prime

The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies

French drivers have dominated the World Rally Championship across the past two decades; Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier have racked up the titles in commanding fashion. With Ogier calling it a day on full-time WRC competition from next year, France will pin its long-term hopes on rookie Adrien Fourmaux, who looks to have a bright future.

WRC
Aug 7, 2021