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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Second WRC title after more durable combat ‘extra satisfying’

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Rovanpera and co-driver Jonne Halttunen clinched a second world title with a spherical to spare after finishing second behind Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville at the inaugural Central European Rally.

The 23-year-old is just the sixth driver within the WRC’s 50-year historical past to efficiently defend a world title, following within the footsteps of Sebastien Loeb, Sebastien Ogier, Tommi Makinen, Juha Kankkunen and Miki Biasion.

In contrast to final 12 months – when Rovanpera dominated the 2022 season with six wins to wrap up the title with two rounds remaining – this 12 months has developed into a better battle.

This season Rovanpera has gained three rallies in Portugal, Estonia and Greece whereas his rivals, particularly team-mate Elfyn Evans, provided stronger opposition.

This put extra of a concentrate on consistency, the place the Finn has excelled having completed no worse than fourth and retired simply as soon as following a crash in Finland.

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“I’ve not had a lot time to consider it [winning the title], however in fact it means quite a bit and when you’ve gotten a bit extra time to consider it I’ll respect it extra,” mentioned Rovanpera.

Picture by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Kalle Rovanperä, Jonne Halttunen, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

“I am fairly happy with the 12 months and I feel the efficiency was extra necessary.

“The competitors was stronger and there wasn’t many simple factors to get like final 12 months when there was way more hassle between all people. This 12 months it was necessary on a regular basis to take the factors and keep in good positions.

“Yeah, it’s [more satisfying to win it this way]. In a means final 12 months was not unhealthy both however this feels fairly good additionally.

“The plan was to simply keep constant and I am fairly joyful we will do it. For instance it’s a lengthy 12 months to do it like this when you may see just a few positions extra forward of you in rallies and also you simply keep in your house as factors are necessary.

“Typically you simply need to accept the factors, however as now we have seen that is fairly intelligent.”

Now the youngest ever two-time world champion, Rovanpera was proud to turn into the sixth back-to-back WRC champion.

“I simply heard that [stat] and it sounds fairly good. It’s clear that it’s not really easy to do it back-to-back.”

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