A Rovanperä crash was inevitable – Latvala

Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala says it's impossible to have a perfect 13-round season


Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala believes Kalle Rovanperä’s Ypres Rally accident was inevitable.

It was the first time that Rovanperä had crashed on a World Rally Championship round since Rally Finland last October.

After setting the fastest time on the opening stage, the points leader cashed out on a fast left-hander on the rally’s second stage, Westouter-Boeschepe.

Latvala confirmed that the crew were both OK.

“That’s the main thing,” he said. “It was quite an impact to the front and then rolling, but always when it’s rolling it’s not so bad because the worse situation is like if you hit the tree or a stone, it’s actually a sudden stop.

“So always when it’s rolling it’s softer for the drivers.

“It looks like it starts to understeer and then starts to go wide. But it’s unlucky that there’s a hole, he hits the hole, because otherwise there was no ditch later on in the field and immediately basically you have to pay the penalty.

“But this is typical here. There is normally very, very steep and sharp ditches which really when you hit them it’s the end of the game.”

Rovanperä had been delayed before the start of the stage and he and co-driver Jonne Halttunen appeared agitated in the car.

Asked whether this may have contributed to the accident, Latvala said: “I don’t think it was affecting them in any way.

“The stage was delayed but Kalle is so good at closing everything out from his world when he starts driving.

“And anyway, if you look at the stage his split times were looking good so I don’t think that had anything to do with it.


“But for me, if you look at this, Kalle has done eight rallies this year, eight really good results. OK Monte was slightly difficult at the beginning but still at the end he got really good points.

“In every championship, every winner does at least one mistake per season. You can’t do 13 races perfect without mistake, this hasn’t happened with [Sébastien] Ogier or with [Sébastien] Loeb.

“And I knew already that it’s a matter of time when this will happen and unfortunately it happened here. It will have come at some point.”

Latvala was unable to confirm whether Rovanperä will be able to restart the rally on Saturday.

“Our guys are now investigating for sure very carefully when they get the car here, and they do everything that they can to prepare the car,” he said.

“So at this point we don’t know how it is but for sure we try to and we hope that we could prepare it and then get Kalle going again. But at this moment we don’t know yet.”