Rovanperä plots Le Mans prototype test after circuit debut

Predictably, the two-time World Rally Champion aced his Porsche Carrera Cup debut. Could Circuit de la Sarthe be next?

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Kalle Rovanperä made his circuit racing debut in the Netherlands this weekend – and is already eyeing-up the possibility of test-driving Toyota’s Le Mans challenger, the GR010 Hybrid.

The two-time world rally champion competed at the Zandvoort round of Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux, narrowly missing out on a podium in the opening race on Saturday, and finishing fifth in the second on Sunday.

Talking about his ambitions at the world’s most famous 24-hour race, Rovanperä said: “For sure, we have discussed about it. I think the plan is now – this summer – to try to have some time on the sim in Germany and see how it goes.”

While he’s too late for the start of this week’s la Sarthe classic, Rovanperä could look to work a 2025 Le Mans entry in around his World Rally Championship commitments – fellow title holder Sébastien Loeb managed it in 2005 and 2006.

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Predictably, Povanperä took to racing a Porsche 911 immediately. The two-time world champion is looking at la Sarthe for the next step

The weekend’s Dutch outing was Rovanperä’s first in a four-round race program aboard a Red Ant Racing-run Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.

While he competed in karting in his childhood, Zandvoort was his first taste of wheel-to-wheel racing in a car. Nerves didn’t appear in his pre-race preparation.

“No, not really. I wasn’t really doubting that so much,” he said, “Of course, I was more doubting how aggressive I’m [going to be], like, defending and stuff. I knew when I need to attack, I probably can do it. Like at the end of the race I was pushing a lot to overtake.”

And overtake he did. Though he got boxed in at the start and fell from third to fifth place in the first race, Rovanperä managed to recover to fourth, and finished the race just 0.1 seconds behind third-placed Robin Knutsson. Fastest lap of the race was some consolation.

In Sunday’s second race, Rovanperä started sixth and, while he wasn’t totally comfortable with the setup of the car, still managed to pass Saturday’s pole-sitter Niels Langeveld for fifth place, wrapping up a strong start to his racing career.

Speaking after the race, Rovanperä admitted there was the possibility for more race action outside of his Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux commitments. He said: “Now the plan is to see how everything goes, and after that we start to plan what I want to do in the future. I don’t have any plans yet, but I’m interested in all kinds of racing.”

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