WRC 2021 Rally Estonia: Toyota's Kalle Rovanpera claims maiden victory

By Divyank Kushagra Bansal | on July 19, 2021

The 20-year-old Finn made history as the youngest winner of an FIA World Rally Championship round whilst handing Toyota their fifth consecutive victory of the season.

Another championship round and another record high for Toyota Gazoo Racing! This time, Toyota's young gun Kalle Rovanperä shattered a long-standing record by becoming the youngest driver in the sport's history to win a WRC round. Interestingly, the 20-year-old Finn has snatched the record from none other than fellow countryman Jari-Matti Latvala, who is also his team principal at Toyota Gazoo Racing. At the age of 22, Latvala became the previous youngest round winner in WRC history by claiming victory at the 2008 Swedish Rally. Rovanperä's win is also the first for a Finnish driver in the championship since Latvala won Rally Australia in 2018.

Kalle Rovanpera Rally Estonia WRC 2021

Rovanperä's Toyota teammates and Hyundai rivals were simply no match for him in Estonia, except for Craig Breen, who was embroiled in perhaps his closest ever duel with Rovanperä. The Toyota rookie was quick to establish dominance in the early stages, winning six of the eight special stages on Friday to become the rally leader. The following day also proved to be Rovanperä's, as he managed to convert his opening lead of 8.5 seconds to 50.7 seconds over Hyundai's Breen by the end of Saturday.

He successfully maintained the lead to cross the finish line with a respectable gap of 59.9 seconds from Breen, who was declared the runner-up – he has now finished second at both the rally’s two WRC appearances. Behind by 12.5 seconds, Breen's Hyundai teammate Thierry Neuville secured the final step on the podium. The Belgian's chances of reeling Breen in were marred by a 10-second penalty.

Sebastien Ogier Rally Estonia

As for championship leader Sébastien Ogier, Rally Estonia was all about defending his top spot on the leaderboard, which he did manage to do successfully. Despite finishing fourth in Estonia, the Frenchman remains in the lead with 148 points. His teammate Elfyn Evans, who rounded off the top five, is still second with 111 points, and Neuville continues to trail Evans in third, with 96 points. Rovanperä had endured a barren run of results of late, with just one top-six finish in the last four rounds, but his maiden victory has promoted him to fourth, with 82 points, eight points ahead of Hyundai's Ott Tänak.

With a total of 315 points after Estonia, Toyota still leads the manufacturers' title fight with a healthy 59-point lead over Hyundai.

Read more:

WRC 2021 Rally Kenya: Ogier & Ingrassia register fourth win of the season

WRC 2021 Rally Italia Sardegna: Ogier brings home another Toyota one-two finish

Tags: WRC Toyota Gazoo Racing

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