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Kalle Rovanpera Becomes the Youngest WRC World Champion After Winning in New Zealand

Kalle Rovanpera, who just turned 22 years old this Saturday, has become the youngest ever World Rally Championship (WRC), with two season-rounds remaining to dispute.
Kalle Rovanpera Becomes the Youngest WRC World Champion After Winning in New Zealand 7 photos
Kalle Rovanpera Becomes the Youngest WRC World Champion After Winning in New ZealandKalle Rovanpera Becomes the Youngest WRC World Champion After Winning in New ZealandKalle Rovanpera Becomes the Youngest WRC World Champion After Winning in New ZealandKalle Rovanpera Becomes the Youngest WRC World Champion After Winning in New ZealandKalle Rovanpera Becomes the Youngest WRC World Champion After Winning in New ZealandKalle Rovanpera Becomes the Youngest WRC World Champion After Winning in New Zealand
Until this weekend, the record was held by legendary rally driver Collin McRae who won the title at the age of 27 in 1995. That's how impressive it is what Kalle achieved in New Zealand, where he drove like a superstar. In addition, Kalle Rovanpera also ended Finland's 20-year wait for a world champion. The last Finnish driver crowned as a WRC world champion was Marcus Gronholm in 2002.

Heading into New Zealand, Rovanpera needed to outscore Ott Tanak by eight points to secure the title. The pair of Kalle Rovanpera and Jonne Halttunen took the win by 34.6 seconds over defending world champion and Toyota teammate Sebastien Ogier. Meanwhile, title rival Ott Tanak finished third, almost 50 seconds behind.

"It's quite a big relief after such a good season and finally we are here," said Kalle Rovanpera, the newly crowned WRC world champion. "It was a small wait after a few difficult rallies, but the biggest thanks goes to the team - they made this rocket this year. Even after all the difficult rallies they were believing in us and giving us all the support."

Toyota Gazoo Racing Finnish team principal and ex-rally driver Jari-Matti Latvala were more emotional than his protegee. “In a way I would like to cry, but I can't cry here,” he said.

“It's really important what Kalle has done. First of all, it’s amazing for a 22-year-old to be breaking all the records and taking the championship title. At the same time, it is so important for Finland because it has been 20 years and that’s a very long time. I am so grateful that Kalle did it - he is a superhero.”

The WRC returns to asphalt for the penultimate round at RallyRACC - Rally de España based in Salou in less than three weeks.

 
 
 
 
 

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