Rovanperä breaks Colin McRae record as youngest World Rally Champion
Kalle Rovanperä has broken Colin McRae’s record to become the youngest driver to win the World Rally Championship* with victory at Rally New Zealand.
At 22 years and one day old, Rovanperä becomes the youngest title winner in the championship’s history, besting previous record holder McRae, who claimed the 1995 title at 27-years and 109-days old.
The Toyota Gazoo Racing driver marked his 22nd birthday yesterday with three stage wins, to hold a 29s advantage over eight-time champion Sébastien Ogier and Benjamin Veillas after Special Stage 14 of the 17-stage event.
The Finn sealed his maiden WRC title alongside co-driver Jonne Haltunnen with two stage wins at Jack’s Ridge, to clinch the eighth rally of his burgeoning career by 34.6s, and the title with two rallies to spare.
“It’s quite the big relief after such a good season,” Rovanperä said.
“Biggest thanks goes to the team of course, they made this rocket this year, reliable, and fast car.
“Even after the difficult rallies, all the time they were believing in us, giving the support, being the best, so for sure, thanks goes to the team.
“To all my sponsors and friends who have been there from the start, that is the biggest point what we set out to achieve from when we started rallying.”
Rovanperä romped to victory in the 17-stage rally, claiming victory over Ogier/Veillas, as well as title contenders Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja.
Tänak/Järveoja were the lead Hyundai Motorsport entry home, followed by Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson and Thierry Neuville/Martin Wydaeghe.
WR2 class winners Hayden Paddon/John Kennard impressed with a sixth place finish overall, with Italians Lorenzo Bertelli/Lorenzo Granai in seventh, while Polish pairing Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak finished eighth.
Capping off impressive WRC debuts Shane van Gisbergen/Glen Weston, and Harry Bates/John McCarthy rounded out the top 10 to score point-finishes.
The next round of the 2022 WRC season is at Catalunya Rally de España from October 20-23.
*Subject to FIA confirmation