Kalle Rovanperä has the world of rallying at his feet. Already holding a 14-point lead in the World Rally Championship, the Toyota driver is three up in terms of rally wins and potentially just a few months away from a world title.
But last weekend, it was time for his father to shine. His father, who hadn’t rallied for eight years, was back and out in a rally car at Rally of Nations Guanajuato.
That event was all about the nations contest and Finland ultimately just missed out on a top 10 placing, but Harri Rovanperä made a good account of himself.
Granted, he didn’t grab the headlines like his 21-year-old son so often does, but fifth overall considering the pulsating heat, his severe lack of seat time, unfamiliarity with his car, a Citroën DS3 R5, as well as with co-driver Angélica Fuentes – who delivered Rovanperä Enlgish pacenotes for the first time in his career – was impressive.
“The feeling was coming quite quickly back,” the former Peugeot, Mitsubishi and Škoda driver told DirtFish.
“All of that I have to practice driving a lot of kilometers, but there is no target to come back.”
An immediate disappointment there for anybody hoping for a Harri Rovanperä career renaissance. But regardless, Rovanperä Sr certainly enjoyed the experience.
“Yes of course,” he assured, “after so many years, it’s very difficult to come back without any test or straight away with the new co-driver and new car and everything. But finally I am very happy.
“On the second last one [stage] I got a little bit of a rally feeling. I could push and understand how it’s going on.”
The driving baton with the Rovanperä family may be staying with Kalle for now, but it was great to see Harri back in his natural habitat. It was a feeling shared by the locals, who embraced the 2002 Rally México winner with very open arms.
“That is very nice. There are lots of fans, it’s amazing how there are people everywhere taking photos and signing and everything,” admitted Rovanperä.
“That is very nice to come back to.”
Like father like son, Harri’s still very much got it.