Kankkunen: Rovanperä will come back even better in 2025

The four-time world champion believes his fellow Finn will benefit from 2024 part-time program

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Four-time World Rally Champion Juha Kankkunen has warned that his countryman Kalle Rovanperä will come back from his part-program 2024 season an even better driver.

The reigning world champion and spectacular winner of last week’s Safari Rally Kenya talked to the older of the two Finns in the middle of last season and Kankkunen was immediately in favor of the 23-year-old taking some time out.

Kankkunen told DirtFish: “When he talked about it he said, ‘Juha, what do you think?’ My reaction was straight away positive. This was more than half a year ago.

“To be honest, he is young – OK, he is not the kid, he is a man who has already won twice the world championship. But he has been using all of his young time in the car. It’s seven or eight years and he has been driving every day.



Double world champion Rovanperä is already closing in on four-time titlist Kankkunen

“When we talked about it I told him he has plenty of time still. He is 23 now and this is the age I was when I managed to take my first factory drive! There is a lot of years for him to come back and drive.

“So, for now he goes to do some racing, which is good practice for rallying and then he likes to do his drifting, which is good fun. Also he can meet a little bit the friends. All of this is good for the future and good for him.

“He will be back in the world championship definitely and he will win another one, two or maybe 10 titles!

“The sport [of rallying] is about the experience, this is so important and he will be building this. The drivers [today] are coming younger, but also they are retiring younger – I won [Rally] Finland when I was 40.”

Rovanperä trails Kankkunen by two titles, but he narrowed the gap in Safari wins last week – he has two compared with Juha’s three.