WRC - K. Rovanperä: "Quite rewarding when you get to the finish like this" | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

WRC - K. Rovanperä: "Quite rewarding when you get to the finish like this"

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26.06.22

2022 Safari Rally Kenya - Transcript of the post-event press conference transcript organised by the FIA on 26 June.

2022 WRC - Safari Rally Kenya - Kalle Rovanperä, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT (Nikos Katikis / DPPI)

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP:

Present:
1. Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT –Kalle Rovanperä, Toyota GR Yaris Rally1
2. Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT- Elfyn Evans Toyota, Toyota GR Yaris Rally1
3. Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT- Takamoto Kasuta, Toyota GR Yaris Rally1
4. Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT - Jari-Matti Latvala, Team Principal

Q:
Tell me Kalle, how do you feel? What an incredible season so far and it keeps on getting better?
KR:
Of course, in the beginning of the season has been really good and yeah this weekend was quite special, this is a quite tough rally also very very well-known. So it was quite special to get this result here and of course for the team also to get to get top four result.

Q:
How tough a challenge did you find it out there this time?
KR:
Much tougher than last year, so it was a bit difficult to really know because we have done this event only once last year, but they are already had a recce, it was much tougher than last year or so we expected it to be quite difficult but yeah we manage it quite well.

Q:
You were full of praise at the end of the final stage for the team and the fact that they built a strong car what have you got to say about the team and the work they’ve done even between now and Sardinia?
KR:
It’s quite clear we can see our car is the strongest and fastest at the moment of course in this kind of problem you don’t always need to be the fastest either but the but they at least we were strong it’s really amazing how all our cars didn't have any big issues in those conditions when you when you drive, you just think to yourself that you something must have broken because it's so tough in the car and so big hits all the time but yeah, the guys have done a great job. I think that was the key this weekend for sure for this could result.

Q
As a whole, how would you describe the Safari experience?
KR:
It’s tough also quite rewarding when you get to the finish like this.

Q:
Final question for you, you have a commanding lead in the championship standings right now how do you feel about that moving forward?
KR:
Of course, it feels good I would have wanted to take some power stage points not the not the half this trick goal from the beginning of the year but yeah it was too tough power stage for that so yeah the points look good and we got to know like this.

Q:
Safari was unkind last year, how happy are you with the results?
EE:
Yeah! Pretty happy though you always want one better unfortunately no, but overall I am really happy for the team more than anything. you know to have this great result like Kalle already mentioned the work that the guys have done between Sardinia and this event in a very short turn around to address some issues we have there they were really quick to react they’re really great job on all the cars you have survived with no issues so yeah happy to be a pattern seen result.

Q:
What was the toughest part of the weekend out there because we we’ve seen some incredibly tough stages but what did you find the biggest challenge?
EE:
 I think it will be yesterday afternoon just in the conditions with the with the visibility quite limited, let’s say it's difficult to read the conditions anyway, but when it comes to that you can’t see very well that’s quite difficult. So yeah to be honest that was the point I really went into survival move to make sure we got through but yeah other than that also tough you know from the beginning but I would say.

Q:
Well that answers one of my questions because it was you know how much were you prepared to risk and push Kalle and I know going into today with the Toyota 123 and four they wanted you to bring the cars home let’s say.
EE:
Yeah I think up until the point of course you know we had one eye on the lead but also we didn’t want to deviate away from our thoughts, that you really had to look after the car when needed so you know that worked up until that point I felt like we sort of got that balance pretty okay. Ultimately when you know there was already 20 second gap or so then there was other things going on. that’s probably when I accepted that once Kalle had a great time on the first one where it rains then it was difficult to really develop after that.

Q:
Estonia next up on the championship calendar where Kalle got his first WRC win last year, how are you feeling about heading there now is confidence building what was it confidence already there this year because you’ve had the pace just luck hasn’t been on your side?
EE:
Yeah I don’t think it’s fair to call everything bad luck you know I think you have to take some responsibility but yeah it's definitely has not been a kind start to the year for us but yeah looking forward now to some different rallies actually Estonia will be the first class proper fast gravel rally we’ve done with these cars and of course there’s a lot of work to do now in testing to prepare, I quite enjoy but I think it’s it helped a lot when you feel good in the car so that’s the target now is to get the car working well in those conditions and hopefully a good resulting.

Q:
Your first ever WRC podium last year at the Safari Rally and now your second WRC podium finish is at the Safari Rally, you must love this event, right?
TK:
Yes, of course three years in a row, also I like this Rally, sorry but other drivers mentioned that it was really tough weekend so yeah I enjoyed that same time I feel quite tired so it’s pretty big but it was enjoyable rally.

Q:
It is an exhausting event because it’s physically demanding mentally demanding how tough a challenge in comparison to the other rallies we have on the calendar is this the toughest of the year would you say?
TK:
Let’s say for the car side it’s for sure the toughest rally and yeah like Kalle and Elfyn mentioned that the team did a great job in the developed the car after Sardinia and such a short time but they you know made such a strong car so we didn’t have any big issues of course some small things but this could happen for everybody and it's almost nothing for this kind of very so yeah but let’s say for driver side of course it’s let’s say fesh fesh section is a really  tough terrain for drivers so even for co-drivers because they cannot see and they cannot you know them voice and everything I can I can hear that getting let’s say more I don’t know what’s how do I say in English but it’s quite bad at this stage so yeah big challenge anyway.

Q:
And for your Co driver it's his first podium for Aaron Johnson you know what a special thing that is, were you thinking about that at all in the kind of the last stage is that it would be the first podium for him?
TK:
Yeah I’m very very happy for him and because he did an incredible job not only for this rally, he organizes and preparing every rally very very well and I really wanted to give him the good result back but unfortunately last few rallies I was not so fast enough and I lost the podium in Portugal and I could not I give him many good results so finally I give him some good memories, so I’m now relaxed a little bit and very happy for that.  Yeah he's doing very good job we shall continue to like that and for sure we shall be even more better leadership and everything going well.

Q:
Two podium finish in your career so far, what other events this year are you targeting for podiums?
TK:
Yeah next rally in Estonia and of course Finland is my home rally so I will try to push as much as I can and but of course there is a lot of risk but, I like this kind of risk so I will try to enjoy and push at the same time and yeah let’s see where I can be but this guy and European last year he won Finland and both are quite crazy fast so try to be close to them as much as possible but for sure it’s going to be fun.

Q:
What an incredible result for your team here a 1,2,3,4 which was a replica of what you had Toyota 30 years ago. How does it feel to come here and be dominant on this event?
JM:
First of all, I must say that I’m really really proud for the team and drivers, the drivers did the job exactly how this rally needs to driven, you don’t need to be the fastest but you need to be the smartest. 
You can see how difficult it is to get results like this, it was 29 years ago since such a thing like this happened here I Safari. The Safari is a test of the cars and I think that we have already proven that we had a strong car in this event, because the work we did before really paid off.

Q:
A lot of work has been done obviously for this weekend because it’s been an incredible. Talk to me about the difficulty in coming from Sardinia which was just, one week prior to when you had to travel, such a quick turnaround to get the cars sorted before coming here you had what 3-4 days?
JM:
Elfyn mentioned that we had the issues and we didn’t have the performance and we had some problems over there so the tests that were done before this event were very important.  During the shakedown we also learnt some things we have to improve and change to make sure that we are strong in this event. The best thing is the way the engineers have being reacting, let's say to prevent the problems to come.

Q:
Give me your thoughts on the safari rally experience this year compared to last year for the first time back from 20 years almost what do you think of it second time around now?
JM:
It was more difficult than last year that’s what the drivers say you can see from the TV I went to the stages myself and I saw it it’s been a really a tough test we have had conditions soft grave, hard gravel, rocks, mud, rain, I think everything else except snow. So if he had snow in here so it starts to be really extreme but you to adopt the conditions.
We need different kinds of events in the championship the only thing I can say is that the fesh fesh section for the drivers to drive was very narrow parts too hard, because that the drivers don’t have visibility because the front bumper is taking the fesh fesh sand in the bonnet and the windscreen.

FIA WRC3 CHAMPIONSHIP

Present:
Maxine Wahome, Ford Fiesta Rally3

Q:
What you’ve done here this weekend is amazing. Tell us how you feel about it?
MW:
I’m really speechless. Excited that I’ve made it and I’ve won the WRC3 class for the first time, the first lady to ever win it.

Q:
I’m really excited, it’s been incredible because last year, the Safari Rally was your first ever rally, you’ve come a long way in just one year?
MW:
It was completely different from what I was used to and I used to drive on the right, I didn’t have enough time for testing. So I’m testing it each day.

Q:
What did you find the toughest challenge out there this weekend in terms of the stages. Did any singular stage stand out?
MW:
I would say Kedong on Friday and Hell’s Gate power stage because of the fesh-fesh, learning the difference of how a Subaru and a Ford can cope with the fesh-fesh is completely different.

Q:
Talk to me about the importance of a female being on the top step of the podium the FIA is very strong women in motorsport there’s so much drive to promote women further on and you’ve just done a great story here and showing other women that this can be achieved women to come up.

MW:
All my life, since I was ten years old and it’s like women empowerment, so I want to encourage women to join.

Q:
Tell me, what was it like crossing the finish of Hell’s Gate today, knowing that you’d won WRC3?
MW:
I couldn’t believe that I had won. I’m proud of myself and my team, they helped me get the car and victory.

ENDS