Press materials / Red Bull / In the photo: Kalle Rovanpera
November 20, 2023, 15:01
Kalle Rovanpera is the youngest WRC world rally champion in history. At the age of 23, the Finn already has two titles under his belt. Meanwhile, next season the Toyota driver will not take part in the full championship series. He explains this by wanting a break from racing.
Without a doubt, Kalle Rovanpera has everything to chase the achievements of rally legends such as Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier. This is proven by the fact that at the age of 23 he has already won two WRC world champion titles. However, quite unexpectedly, the young Finn announced on Monday that we will not see him in the full championship series in the 2024 season.
Toyota has decided to keep the current line-up, i.e. its drivers next year will still be Kalle Rovanpera, Elfyn Evans, Sebastien Ogier and Takamoto Katsuta, but the current world champion will not defend the title and will only take part in selected rallies. It will be similar with Ogier, who resigned from regular racing in the WRC at the end of the 2021 season.
In a press release, Rovanpera emphasized that he wanted to “recharge his batteries” because he was tired of competing in the WRC in recent years. The Finn assumes that he will return to regular competition on special stage routes in 2025.
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The Finn has been associated with Toyota in the WRC since the 2020 season. Since then, he has won eleven rallies, which allowed him to win two world championship titles (2022-2023). This year, he became only the sixth driver in WRC history to defend his championship.
– I am very excited about signing a multi-year contract with Toyota and the opportunity to continue working with the team. Next year, however, I will only take part in selected rallies. The main reason for my decision is that I have been racing cars for 15 years. The last seasons were amazing, but also mentally and physically demanding, said Rovanpera.
– I felt it was a good time to take a year to recharge my batteries. Then I want to come back as a full-time driver to fight for the title again, added the young Finn.
Evans, who won the world vice-champion title on Sunday, has the most to gain in this situation. The Briton will now be Toyota’s main challenger to fight for victory in the WRC.
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