There’s a parallel conversation happenning in the World Rally Championship and Formula 1 right now.
Charles Leclerc’s strong start to his F1 campaign has him pinned in some quarters as the only title contender already, despite just 13.6% of the season being completed.
The WRC has covered more ground – marginally, at 15.4% – but there’s already some chatter that Kalle Rovanperä already has one hand on the trophy.
Toyota’s flying Finn has a 14-point lead over Thierry Neuville after two rallies, with the next closest full-season challenger, Gus Greensmith, sitting on 20 points which is less than half of Rovanperä’s total.
Talked up pre-season title favorite and team-mate Elfyn Evans? He’s a massive 42 points in arrears. Rovanperä could simply not bother flying to Zagreb for Rally Croatia this weekend and even if Evans aces both the rally and the powerstage, he’ll still be over 10 points behind.
If M-Sport Ford’s Craig Breen, another likely contender, did the same he would only draw level with Rovanperä.
It’s clear then that Rovanperä’s start to the season could hardly have gone much better, but after two very specialist rounds of the championship it’s way too early for anybody to be practicing how to carve the words ‘Kalle’ and ‘Rovanperä’ into a trophy.
Predictably, this is how Rovanperä sees it too when DirtFish reminds him just how good his position is this early into the year.
“Yeah but anyway it’s only two races in so I don’t want to really think about it too much,” are Rovanperä’s words of response.
“I know like last year it can go to s*** very quickly so I don’t want to expect too much.”
Valid. After all, Rovanperä was in this same position last year heading to Croatia with a championship lead over Neuville – albeit one that was 3.5 times smaller than this time – before he threw his car off the road on the first stage and was dumped down the standings.
It didn’t get much better from there either with retirements in both Portugal and Sardinia that left his title chances academic at best. Rallying is a fickle business.
“I’ll just try to continue the same way,” Rovanperä adds. “Try to be good and clever and bring the points home on all the rallies.
“We can hopefully continue the same way and it will start to look good at some point I hope.”
That’s if it isn’t looking good already.