Rovanperä “even more hungry” for WRC success this year

There's no lacking in motivation from the WRC's new champion


He might be world champion, but that doesn’t mean Kalle Rovanperä is any less motivated going into the 2023 World Rally Championship season.

All any rally driver wants to achieve in life is to clinch the championship title, but once that’s achieved it can change a driver’s outlook.

Some will defend like mad, while others are happy that they’ve proven they are good enough and take their foot off the gas somewhat. But although Rovanperä admits that the hunger he has is different to what it was in previous years, the motivation is still very much there.

“I wouldn’t say so,” was the champion’s response when asked by DirtFish if winning last year’s title has taken away some of the hunger to win.


“It’s not the same kind of hunger but it’s still there, and maybe it’s even more that you want to continue on the good way and definitely start the season better than last year.

“There is a clear step already to do.”

There’s no doubt in the short term Rovanperä will want a stronger Monte performance compared to 2022 when he finished fourth, but this time the goals are different.

Last year he was the hunter, but this time he’s the prey.

He’s the one with a target on his back, and given that it’s likely he is going to have increased competition from the likes of Ott Tänak and Thierry Neuville, as well as team-mate Elfyn Evans, Rovanperä is firmly of the belief that 2023 could be his most difficult year yet in the WRC.

“The feeling is good of course,” he said.

“I think defending the title will be difficult, I think the season will be more difficult than last year.

“For sure the competition is closer and the guys and the other teams are closer to us so yeah of course it will be a more difficult season.”

So who does he think he will be fighting for the championship?

“I don’t know. I didn’t really think like this.

“I always think that everybody starts with zero points and throughout the season you can see from the results who is in the fight but I think it will be the same guys as previous years.

“And of course EP [Esapekka Lappi] will be with a new team and a full season, so I hope all the best for him also that we will have Finnish flags in the fight.”

Words:Rob Hansford