While the rest of the rallying world is calculating when, not if, Kalle Rovanperä will win this year’s World Rally Championship, the Toyota driver isn’t convinced the job is done yet.
Rovanperä has led the championship ever since victory on Rally Sweden back in February. He currently holds a 72-point advantage over Hyundai’s Ott Tänak.
Next week’s Acropolis Rally Greece offers Rovanperä his second chance to claim the world title early and make history in becoming the youngest ever world champion at 21 years old.
However, Greece would be his only shot at clinching the championship at 21, as the following round in New Zealand concludes a day after Rovanperä’s 22nd birthday.
To win after round 10, Rovanperä would need to outscore Tänak by 18 points in Lamia.
But Rovanperä isn’t interested in such permutations or calculations – he’s wary that there’s still plenty that can go wrong; as evidenced by his crash on Ypres Rally Belgium.
Indeed, Tänak has won both of the last two events and outscored Rovanperä by 11 points over the last three.
So when asked by DirtFish if he felt pressure to win the title in Greece, which with its European time zone may be better for Toyota in terms of marketing and promotion, Rovanperä was quick to dismiss such conversation.
“No,” he said.
“I think like we saw [in Ypres] it’s never over until it’s over. You don’t really need to think about it before.
“You try just to have good points and good results from the rallies.”
The Acropolis was kind to Rovanperä last year as he took his second career WRC victory, but he faces an entirely different prospect this year running as first car on the road on Friday.
“Yeah, if the weather is dry I think it’s going to be really tricky to open the road,” he conceded.
“But still, Ott and the guys are just behind. Hopefully it’s not so much better for them.”