Kalle Rovanperä

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Kalle Rovanperä
Personal information
NationalityFinland Finnish
Born (2000-10-01) October 1, 2000 (age 18)
Jyväskylä, Finland
World Rally Championship record
Active years2017–present
Co-driverFinland Jonne Halttunen
Rally wins0
Stage wins0
Total points4
First rally2017 Wales Rally GB

Kalle Rovanperä (born October 1, 2000) is a Finnish rally driver. Rovanperä is the son of former World Rally Championship driver Harri Rovanperä. He has garnered international attention by starting rallying at an exceptionally young age.[1][2] He is the 2016 and 2017 Latvian open class champion and the 2015 Latvian R2 class champion.


2015 season – Latvian R2 class champion[edit]

In 2015, at age 14, Rovanperä competed in Latvia, where a driver's license is not a requirement to take part in rallying. Between the stages his car was driven by co-driver Risto Pietiläinen, who also used to be the co-driver of Kalle Rovanperä's father Harri in WRC rallies. On 18 October 2015 Rovanperä won the Latvian rally championship with his Citroen C2R2 Max car in the R2 class.[3]

2016 season – Latvian open class champion[edit]

For the first three rallies of the 2016 Latvian rally series, Rovanperä drove a 300-horsepower four-wheel-drive Škoda Fabia S2000. It was a completely new WRC2 class rally car with a two-liter naturally aspirated engine.[4] The first race, on 16–17 January, ended in Rovanperä's overwhelming victory. The second place driver Ralfs Sirmacis lost the eight stage rally by one minute and 10 seconds. Rovanperä won each of the stages.[5]

The second rally, also in January 2016, was won by Rovanperä after a ferocious final spurt. His car's power steering was lost on the second stage and he lost over a minute. Eventually Rovanperä was able to win the rally with a 20.4 second margin to second-place Raimonds Kisiels. Rovanperä won nine of the ten stages.[6]

Rovanperä placed second in the Kurzeme rally in Latvia in May. It was the first rally in the 2016 Baltic Rally Trophy series. He was able to finish the rally despite suffering an axle damage and losing torque in his rear wheels.[7]

For the rest of the season Rovanperä got to drive a new Škoda Fabia R5 car. He placed second in Rally Zemaitija in Latvia in June and won the Tallinn rally in Estonia in August.[8]

In September Rovanperä was second in Liepaja rally, the penultimate rally of the Latvian championship series.

Latvia rally in October closed out the season. Rovanperä won the rally and clinched the championship. Over the season, he won four times, placed second three times, and finished outside the podium only once. He is the youngest driver ever, at age of 16, to win a national open class rally championship in any country.[9]

2017 season – three national series and WRC debut[edit]

In January 2017 the Finnish motorsport association AKK-Motorsport granted 16-year-old Rovanperä a special permission to take part in Finnish rally races and the Ralli SM national championship series.[10]

In February Rovanperä took part in his first Finnish championship rally in Mikkeli. He won the rally by a 10.7-second margin to second-place Teemu Asunmaa despite suffering a tire puncture.[11] In June Rovanperä took his second Finnish rally championship series victory in Kouvola.[12]

In 2017 Rovanperä participated in the national championship series of three countries: Latvia, Italy and Finland. In Latvia and Finland he was driving Toni Gardemeister's team's Škoda Fabia R5 and in Italy a Peugeot team's Peugeot 208 T16.[13] In Latvia Rovanperä won two of his first rallies and place second in the third one. In Italy he did not have notable success.

In June 2017 the Finnish transport safety agency Trafi granted Rovanperä a special permission to apply for a driver's license when he turns 17.[14] The normal required age in Finland is 18. On Monday 2 October, a day after his 17th birthday, Rovanperä successfully completed the mandatory driving test after having completed the theory part beforehand.[15] Having a driver's license allows him to take part in WRC rallies.

In the beginning of October Rovanperä placed second in Rally Liepaja in Latvia. As well as being part of the Latvian championship series, it was also Rovanperä's first rally in the European Rally Championship. Rovanperä had already previously clinched the 2017 Latvian open class rally championship for the second year in a row.[16]

Rovanperä participated in his first WRC rally at Wales Rally GB in October 2017,[17] driving an M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5 car in Wales as well as in Rally Australia in November.[18] He won the Rally Australia in WRC2, but was also the only contestant in the class.[19] He also finished tenth in the total evaluation, gained a point and therefore became the youngest ever driver to score a point.

2018 season[edit]

Rovanperä joined the Škoda Motorsport team for the 2018 season, with a plan to contest in the WRC2 series in 6–7 events. Rovanperä will use a private entered car for some of the rallies, including the season opener Monte Carlo Rally. Rovanperä will also contest some events in the Asia Pacific Championship series.[20]

In May, Kalle suffered a large accident on the Rally Argentina. Locked in a battle with teammate Pontus Tidemand for the WRC-2 victory on the final day, Rovanperä misjudged a fast left-hander and rolled violently, his car landing on top of a spectator's car parked at the side of the stage. Thankfully there was nobody in the car, and he and his co-driver were unscathed.

He had a successful season, leading in Argentina prior to the accident, and was leading again in Finland when his suspension broke, before finally bagging a win with a dominant drive in Wales, where he'd made his debut one year earlier.

Career results[edit]

WRC results[edit]

Year Entrant Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Pos. Points
2017 Kalle Rovanperä Ford Fiesta R5 MON SWE MEX FRA ARG POR ITA POL FIN GER ESP GBR
25th 1
2018 Kalle Rovanperä Škoda Fabia R5 MON
SWE 22nd 3
Škoda Motorsport MEX
Škoda Motorsport II GER

WRC-2 results[edit]

Year Entrant Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Pos. Points
2017 Kalle Rovanperä Ford Fiesta R5 MON SWE MEX FRA ARG POR ITA POL FIN GER ESP GBR
15th 25
2018 Škoda Motorsport Škoda Fabia R5 MON SWE MEX
3rd 90
Škoda Motorsport II GER


  1. ^ "Watch a 13-year-old rallyist scare someone stupid". www.topgear.com. Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  2. ^ "Tässä tulee toisen polven rallivirtuoosi! – katso video" (in Finnish). Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  3. ^ "Suomalainen Kalle, 15, näytti kokeneille kuskeille mallia – voitti rallimestaruuden ja ällistytti legendaarisen isänsä". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). 2015-10-18. Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  4. ^ "15-vuotiaan suomalaisen rallisensaation jatko selvillä: "keskoskaappi" vaihtuu uuteen 300-hevosvoimaiseen tykkiin". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). 2015-12-14. Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  5. ^ "Kalle Rovanperä, 15, ylivoimaiseen rallivoittoon – tyrmäsi muut kuskit!" (in Finnish). Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  6. ^ "Kalle Rovanperältä, 15, aivan uskomaton nousu! Ajoi taas voittoon" (in Finnish). Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  7. ^ "Suomen rallilupaus hurjana – sijoittui toiseksi, vaikka veto katosi". mtv.fi (in Finnish). Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  8. ^ "Suomalainen 15-vuotias superlupaus ylivoimaiseen rallivoittoon -" (in Finnish). Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  9. ^ "Kalle Rovanperällä, 16, uskomaton vuosi – kausi päättyi mestaruuteen!" (in Finnish). Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  10. ^ "AKK myönsi poikkeusluvan – alaikäinen Kalle Rovanperä saa osallistua Suomen rallikilpailuihin". yle.fi (in Finnish). Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  11. ^ "Kalle Rovanperältä, 16, uskomaton debyytti SM-rallissa – heti komea voitto!". yle.fi (in Finnish). Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  12. ^ Oy, Kaakon Viestintä. "Kalle Rovanperä oli pitelemätön Kouvolan SM-rallissa – Kouvolan Sanomat" (in Finnish). Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  13. ^ "Kalle Rovanperällä, 16, kova haaste – vastustajat eivät tarvitse ollenkaan nuotteja" (in Finnish). Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  14. ^ "Nyt se on varmaa: Ihmekuski Kalle Rovanperä saa ajokortin alaikäisenä!" (in Finnish). Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  15. ^ "17-vuotias ralliteini jännitti inssiajoa – loppukuusta Rovanperä tekee historiaa Walesin MM-rallissa". yle.fi (in Finnish). Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  16. ^ "Rovanperä porhalsi kakkoseksi EM-rallissa". yle.fi (in Finnish). Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  17. ^ "WRC 2: Rovanperä makes his debut - wrc.com". www.wrc.com. Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  18. ^ "Kalle Rovanperä hurjassa lyönnissä EM-rallissa! Voittotaistossa tekniikkaongelmista huolimatta". yle.fi (in Finnish). Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  19. ^ Rally Australia 2017 final results, WRC2
  20. ^ http://www.urheiluuutiset.com/rovanperan-kausi-kaynnistyy-monte-carlosta-gardemeisterin-tallin-kalustolla/

External links[edit]