Jari-Matti Latvala praised Kalle Rovanperä’s historic performance as “truly phenomenal” in the Estonian WRC rally. As the team principal of Toyota, Latvala lauded the reigning world champion’s display.
While Rovanperä’s success was anticipated, his dominant performance and 13 consecutive stage wins were among the greatest achievements in the history of the WRC. In the past, the multi-champion Sébastien Loeb achieved 14 consecutive stage wins in the Cyprus rally, but Rovanperä came close to breaking that record.
“This was truly an extraordinary performance. This rally is a bit like Kalle’s home event, the one he enjoys the most. He learned to drive in these conditions when he was a young boy, similar to how I learned to drive on snow as a young driver. It was the most neutral condition for me back then,” Latvala summarized for Rallit.fi.
“Already on Friday, you could see when Kalle started from the first position that he could drive so fast and control the situation. That gave us a hint of what could happen on Saturday. And then, he completely dominated the event. A brilliant performance by Kalle,” he added.
Looking ahead to the upcoming Jyväskylä WRC rally in less than two weeks, Latvala predicts a more challenging race for Rovanperä. With only five races remaining in the championship, Rovanperä will have to consider his position in the overall standings once again.
“Jyväskylä is a tougher race for Kalle to win compared to this rally. The surface and profile are so different there. Plus, there’s the pressure of performing in front of the home crowd, although Kalle usually doesn’t take much pressure from these things. In that sense, he can approach it more easily. But being the first car on the road might be more difficult there than here,” Latvala stated.
In the Manufacturers’ Championship, Toyota extended its lead over its arch-rival Hyundai to 57 points. Latvala’s team is getting closer to securing their third consecutive championship.
“We’ve made great progress in the points department. I must be really pleased with that. However, Hyundai has been consistently improving and moving forward. They are giving us a tough competition. They now have a new technical director, and I know his aim is to secure victories. I know from his time at VW that he’s capable,” Latvala reminded.
“They are constantly working to get better. We also need to maintain our pace and performance to stay at the top,” he concluded.