Rovanpera clinches stunning Rally Estonia victory

Kalle Rovanpera

Kalle Rovanpera has secured a slice of history, becoming the youngest ever driver to win a World Rally Championship event.

The 20-year-old was a standout performer throughout Rally Estonia to carry a 50.7-second advantage into the final day.

He managed the gap to nearest rival Craig Breen to complete the event with an increased 59.9-second margin, with Breen’s Hyundai team-mate Thierry Neuville rounding out the podium.

“It feels really good to take the win,” said Rovanpera.

“We’ve been aiming for this, and I have to say a big thanks to the team.

“Even though this year has been difficult for me, they have been supporting me so well and the feeling inside the car and the team has been really good.

“It’s really nice to have this record as the youngest winner also. Jari-Matti [Latvala, Toyota team principal] told me that he wanted it to be me who would take it, so that means something to me; it’s really nice.

“For sure, this result should help a lot now: when you can get a win it helps to release a bit of the feeling and the pressure.”

Ironically, Latvala was the previous record holder, having won the 2008 Rally Sweden as a 22-year-old.

“It’s an amazing day today, and a record-breaking win in more ways than one,” Latvala added.

“Every victory is special and enjoyable, but for me to see Kalle’s first victory today has a big meaning.

“I’m so happy to see him become the youngest ever to win a WRC rally and take the record from me: it keeps up the Finnish tradition, after Henri Toivonen held it before me.

“He did such a fantastic job this weekend. To take our fifth win in a row – a record for Toyota – is also unbelievable.

“It’s something unique and special that we’ve done in these last events. There is still a long way to go in both championships but I’m so proud of the team and the drivers.”

In terms of the championship, Sebastien Ogier now leads by 37 points from Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans, while Rovanpera has climbed to fourth.

Neuville is Hyundai’s lead challenger in third.

Round 8 of the 2021 season will take place across August 13-15 in Belgium.

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