On a Friday night, 19 years ago this month, a Rovanperä was running second on the International Swedish Rally.
Fast forward from 2001 to 2020 and replace Harri with Kalle and the story’s nearly the same. OK, Junior is third, but he’s only 14.3 seconds off the lead.
His father, in a Peugeot 206 WRC, was 13.2 behind Carlos Sainz’s Ford Focus RS WRC 01 just over a year into the new millennium.
You don’t need DirtFish to tell you what happened a couple of days later in 2001: Harri won by almost half a minute from Thomas Rådström’s Mitsubishi.
Rovanperä Sr talked to DirtFish at the end of Friday about his son’s day – a day in which Kalle was third fastest on the first two stages, moved up to second overall with second fastest time on SS3 and then slipped back to third with a spin on the final Torsby Sprint stage.
In short, he was awesome on only his second ever start in a factory World Rally Car.
“This is more than what I expected from him,” said Harri.
“What can I say? It’s incredible. This is only his second rally [at this level], to be fighting for the lead and staying in the top three after the first day. It’s incredible.
“And he doesn’t know the car maximum well. He had two times when the engine stopped, but car is very different from the R5 car, with the differential and the engine. I think the third time [for a stall] is not coming!”
Humility was never far from Rovanperä Sr through his driving career and it remains the case today.
Asked about his input into his son’s day one result, he replied: “There’s not so much I can say to him now. The cars are so different. He talks to the team and he drives. That’s it.”
And that certainly is it. Are we two days away from the most astonishing family rally reunion?
Stay tuned to DirtFish.com to find out.