Latvala on Rovanperä: “He is a superhero”
By profitable the title on Sunday, Kalle Rovanperä turned the primary Finnish WRC World Champion since 2002 and Marcus Grönholm’s second crowning. The Toyota driver is thus the seventh Finn to crown the world crown after Ari Vatanen (1981), Hannu Mikkola (1983), Timo Salonen (1985), Juha Kankkunen (1986, 1987, 1991 and 1993), Tommi Mäkinen (from 1996 to 1999) and subsequently Grönholm (2000 and 2002).
Vice-world champion in 2010, 2014 and 2015, and now Toyota workforce boss, Jari-Matti Latvala struggled to cover his emotion on the finish of Rally New Zealand. The latter thus certified the title of his pilot as being “Crucial” for a rally-mad nation like Finland.
“It is blended feelings, within the sense that I need to cry, however I can not right here”mentioned the Finnish official on arrival. “What Kalle has completed is essential. To start with, it is wonderful for a 22-year-old younger man to interrupt all these information and win the title. However on the similar time, it is essential for Finland as a result of it has been 20 years [que le pays n’avait pas eu de Champion]so it had been a very long time. Mikko Hirvonen and I have been near it, however we by no means managed to win the title, as a result of there have been two Sebastiens [Loeb et Ogier] in addition to Otto [Tänak]so I am very completely satisfied that Kalle made it occur. It is fantastic, I haven’t got the phrases. He is a superhero.”
“We felt that curiosity within the rally was declining, little by little [en Finlande]however since Kalle made his mark there was a resurgence of it. I believe we’re going to see a phenomenon round Kalle in Finland, as a result of I’ve by no means seen such scenes within the phases, the place you could have followers like in a soccer stadium. Each from time to time you want Champions like this to maintain the curiosity stage going, and it additionally helps younger individuals become involved within the sport in any respect ranges. I believe this title shouldn’t be solely vital for Kalle, but additionally for Finland.”
Rovanperä is the seventh Finnish driver to be topped WRC World Champion.
In the direction of a rejuvenation of the WRC grid?
Latvala additionally believes that the younger age of Rovanperä, who turned 22 final Saturday throughout Rally New Zealand, will trigger modifications within the rally, with extra younger drivers getting into the self-discipline. “I believe the self-discipline will change now”continues the Finnish supervisor.
“The drivers are going to have the ability to are available youthful, and I believe they’re going to additionally retire earlier as a result of once you attain the highest of the game at that age, I do not assume you’ll be able to have a profession like Sebastien Loeb’s, and nonetheless driving at nearly 50 years previous.”
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