Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala believes Kalle Rovanperä should be able to win the Monte Carlo Rally next year, having finished second on this year’s event.
Monte was a challenging event for Rovanperä last year and he ended up finishing the rally in fourth, despite a retirement from Ott Tänak and Elfyn Evans being well down the order having gone off the road on SS11.
But this year the story was very different, with Rovanperä the nearest challenger to victor Sébastien Ogier.
And now that he has achieved a podium result, Latvala believes Rovanperä is ready to go one step further when the World Rally Championship returns to Monte in 2024.
“I said to him the first year, ‘[you need] to reach the podium before you can win this rally,’” Latvala said to DirtFish.
“So I think next year he has the capacity to be there, to fight for the victory.”
Rovanperä too was happy with the step up in performance from 2022, believing he could have been even closer to Ogier had he not had to do so much cleaning on the opening two days.
“I think we lost too much time cleaning the road on Thursday and Friday,” the reigning champion said.
“There was a few stages where I think there was a lot of changes on the grip compared to the guys behind, so not much what we could do on that.
“But after that, when we had similar conditions, we were on the pace all the time. So that’s good.”
And having achieved what he set out do, Rovanperä’s ready to take that final step next year – although he’s still cautious about committing to a specific target.
“The plan was to step up always when we come to the next event, and we did do it, so that’s good.
“I think we have to see what we can do [next year]. But there’s a long season before the next one.”