‘Toyota Gazoo Racing’ team principal Lari-Matti Latvala, three-time world runner-up, winner of eighteen WRC races and until 2021 the youngest driver ever to win a WRC race (Sweden 2008), believes that the first rallies of next season will be decisive in determining whether the ‘wunderkind’ and new world rally champion Kalle Rovanperä will be able to repeat himself. In early October, Kalle Rovanperä rewrote the history books of the World Rally Championship when, at the Repco Rally New Zealand, the Finn became the youngest world champion ever, winning the title at the age of just twenty-two. Some former world champions like Tommi Mäkinen, Sébastien Loeb, Sébastien Ogier and Miki Biasion were able to repeat themselves the following year, but other top drivers like Carlos Sainz and Marcus Grönholm failed to defend their crowns. Latvala once again put a Finn on top of the world: it had been since 2002, when Marcus Grönholm had last done so with Peugeot. According to Latvala, Rovanperä‘s victory will again fuel interest in rallying in Finland, helping to attract more young people to the sport.
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