Copying team-mates’ setup backfired on Rovanperä

Still no podiums since January, but Rovanperä knows where he fell short in Croatia


Kalle Rovanperä was in no mood to sugar-coat his Croatia Rally performance.

“We should have known better.”

A puncture on Friday’s second stage dropped him out of the running, but he just never looked comfortable during the early phases of the weekend.

The end result was a third consecutive fourth place finish in a row.


Brutally upfront, Rovanperä wasn’t hiding his frustration at making an early error with his setup that he feels was totally avoidable.

“[I’m] only disappointed that we didn’t nail the setup in the beginning and lost too much time because of that,” the world champion told DirtFish.

“But then at the end to fight it out with Séb [Ogier] all the way through and come out of that on top, it’s not so bad.

“I’m not too worried because we know where we should be. But yeah, I’m a bit disappointed that we didn’t do it before the rally, like we should have known better.

“But yeah, we know it now.”

Rovanperä’s pace did improve as Croatia Rally progressed, which suggested that he did work towards finding a setup that worked better for him.

Over the final two legs he won half the stages and wasn’t outside the top three on any of them.

Rovanperä began the rally expecting the stages to be cleaner than they were as the second car on the road, and that left him with too much understeer and therefore limited confidence to push.


“For sure, Séb and Elfyn [Evans] both have totally different driving styles to me so we can’t really compare that so much,” he said at first service.

“But yeah, at least we have a now clearer idea what we need to try with my car to try [to make it work] for me.”

Rovanperä was quick to identify what he needed to change – even if he wouldn’t tell us what those changes were – and things improved, as could be seen by his stage times.

But his comments about his driving style relative to his two team-mates were interesting. Clearly in the test Evans and Ogier found something which worked and Rovanperä was tempted to try it.

It just didn’t work out.

“I think overall the car has went in the direction which works,” Rovanperä explained.

“I also want to try if it works for me because you never know until you drive with the pacenotes and stuff.

“On the test we had really dry conditions so it was quite OK. Now in the rally I can’t work it out so well.

“We do the setup with the engineers,” he added. “Of course, I can also choose whatever I like.

“So it was just, let’s say, from many points it was not optimal and now we know that that’s not the direction for me. So nothing too dramatic.

“The car just had a bit too much understeer for my driving style and I just need more rotation than the team-mates.”