Perhaps the World Rally Championship (WRC) does not generate as much media and public interest as the competitions we deal with more frequently here.
However, the components that this motor racing discipline includes that make it very attractive are as follows: the unpredictability of what you can find in each section, stunning landscapes, skids when entering a curve, jumps, and so on.
In 2022, a young boy from Finland will likely have been the one to initiate the process of reviving a competition that has been dormant for a considerable amount of time in the eyes of the general public.
His name is Kalle Rovanperä, and at the age of 22, he became the youngest champion in the history of the world.
In addition, he accomplished this feat by a significant margin over the individual who had previously held the record for precocity. In Motorbli, we will tell his biography, which is guaranteed to take you by surprise.
After introducing our main character, it is time to discuss his background and examine the factors contributing to his accomplishing so much at such a tender age.
Although there is no way for us to predict whether or not he will maintain his position as champion and ascend to the work of greatest, one thing is sure: he has a lot of time to do so.
Kalle Rovanpera came into the world in the town of Jyvaskyla on October 1st, 2000. (Finland).
His father, Harri, also competed in the World Rally Championship (WRC) during the 1990s and at the beginning of this century and, in fact, won a victory, but he never fought for a championship.
As a result, he grew up in a family closely connected to motor racing and, more specifically, rallying.
Therefore, it is fair to say that the apprentice is now more skilled than the master in this particular scenario.
When he was eight years old, he placed a cushion on the seat so that he could reach the steering wheel well and be recorded in a video while driving a Toyota Starlet on the snowy roads around his home in a clean skid.
This was done so that he could satisfy his curiosity about what it would be like for a child to drive in such conditions.
After some time, this video was uploaded to YouTube, where it quickly gained such a large following that it surpassed one million views.
He had the engine in his blood and was born to shine in rallying. It also demonstrated that he was born to excel in the sport.
It was not the only time he surprised friends and strangers through the screens. One example is that when he was 11 years old, he climbed a journalist from his country to the top of the Subaru Impreza school of the grand champion Juha Kankkunen and gave him a ride through those snowy landscapes in which he was tanned while interviewing him.
During that discussion, he claimed that in that year, he had attained a top speed of 210 kilometers per hour when traveling in a direct line.
Although Kalle stated in another interview that he has been driving various vehicles since he was three years old, such as ATVs and motorcycles, and he did not get behind the wheel of a car for the first time until he was seven years old.
Kalle has driven a variety of vehicles. In the interim, he gave karting a shot, but the experience did not sway him to pursue it further.
As he once admitted to himself, he found the experience of driving on dirt and snow more enjoyable than going on asphalt.
Since it is against the law in his country for people under the age of 18 or who do not have a driver’s license to compete in rallying competitions, the truth is that his training stage could not have been easy.
Additionally, he had to make numerous trips to Latvia to compete in rallying competitions beginning when he was just 12 years old.
As one might expect, these journeys were undertaken with his father.
During those early races, when he was beginning to hone his instinct for competition, he shared the same co-driver, Risto Pietilainen, with his father, who was in charge of the car during the liaison stages of the rally sprints in which they competed.
Those early races were where he began to forge his competitive instinct (shorter rallies in terms of sections, distance covered, and infrastructure needed for it).
He raced a Citroen C2 and won the two-wheel-drive competition in his second full year of competition, which was also his second full year of running overall.
In 2015, he achieved the first of many great successes that he would harvest from his training stage: he won the junior title in Latvia, becoming the youngest person to accomplish this feat.
It was just a taste of what was to come in the years, as in 2016 and 2017, he was proclaimed champion of the final championship while driving a Skoda Fabia R5 with all-wheel drive. This event served as a prelude to what was to come in the future.
To gain some experience on asphalt, specifically in the first of these, he combined it with Italy’s championship race.
After that, in the final of these years mentioned, he got his driving license, precisely the day after he turned 17, which was made possible thanks to a special permit provided by the government of Finland.
Subsequently, he got his driving license in the last of these years mentioned.
Since he needed a driver’s license to compete in the World Rally Championship, he got closer to realizing his dream.
After that came his first race in the WRC2 championship, which served as a stepping stone to the WRC. During the 2017 Great Britain Rally, he drove a Ford Fiesta R5.
After that, he competed in the one in Australia, where he ended up winning first place overall in his category.
As a result of his tenth-place finish, he earned one point and established a new record for precocity by becoming the youngest driver in racing history to do so.
His name will be etched in the annals of racing history. Because of his abilities, Skoda Motorsport, which competed in the WRC2 category the year after, decided to sign him up for the following season.
During that season, his battle partner was a Skoda Fabi R5, guiding him to the third-place finish in the drivers’ standings and two victories. He continued to work with the Czech manufacturer toward achieving his goal in 2019, the year in which he will compete in the WRC-2 Pro championship.
This competition was developed specifically for the official structures of the world championship, and it is the only one of its kind.
He began the season behind the wheel of a Skoda Fabia R5, and by the time it was over, he had switched to a Skoda Fabia R5 Evo. He did this to satisfy his insatiable curiosity.
It was with the former that he competed in Monte Carlo, Sweden, Corsica, and Chile, and it was the latter that he drove from Portugal to Catalonia.
It was the only edition that had that competition. He won it thanks to his five victories, which he achieved in Chile, Portugal, Italy, at home in Finland and Great Britain, and on five additional podiums.
In 2020, he became a full-time member of the Toyota team, competing alongside illustrious competitors such as the Frenchman Sébastien Ogier and the Britishman Elfyn Evans.
This move allowed him to interact with the real big boys, and he quickly demonstrated that he could compete equally with all of them.
The first rally he competed in with the Japanese in a Yaris was the legendary Monte Carlo Rally, in which he finished fifth overall.
The second rally he competed in was the Rally of Sweden, in which he finished third overall and earned a spot on the podium.
He was the youngest to ever finish in the top three on a rostrum, accomplishing this feat at 19 years and 139 days.
The following year, 2021, he got his first wins and climbed to the lead after the Monte Carlo and Finland rallies, placing him as the youngest to ever occupy that privileged position at the age of 20.
This allowed him to reach the stage of maturity that he had been working toward. After a brief recovery between his mishap in Croatia and his struggles in Italy, he achieved his first victory in Estonia.
This victory came after a string of unfortunate events in Italy and Croatia. Before officially confirming his position in fourth place, he again achieved success in Greece.
Good Kalle had been giving warnings that he was here to make history, and in 2022, when he won his first WRC world championship title, his promise was fulfilled.
And he started on the path to Olympus with brutal dominance, as evidenced by the fact that he won the first three competitions he entered, which were held in Sweden, Croatia, and Portugal, respectively.
These were followed by three more in Kenya, Estonia, and New Zealand, the latter of which was the one that enabled him to mathematically certify that he had won the championship with two dates still to go.
The previous record for precocity was held by the late Collin McRae, who was 27 years old when he set it.
He beat the record with 22 years, which is a five-year difference that is barbaric and that suggests that this kid can hit the numbers you want.
It is important to note that the first World Rally Championship was held in 1975. This makes it a significantly more recent competition than Formula 1, for example, and a sport in which it is more challenging to begin competing at a younger age due to the sport’s unique requirements.
As an illustration, we highly recommend that you read the biography formerly devoted in these same lines to a man named Carlos Sainz Sr., who won the title of two-time champion in this category.
You will eventually realize that the two of them followed very different roads on their way to the championship, leading you to this conclusion.
We can only hope that the success of Kalle Rovanpera will encourage more young people to get involved in this sport and usher in a new era.
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