Rovanpera becomes youngest champion with Rally New Zealand win
FIA World Rally Championship – Rally Sweden – Stage 3 of Second Round – Torsby, Sweden – February 14, 2020 Finland’s Kalle Rovanpera looks on. TT News Agency/Micke Fransson via REUTERS
Oct 2 (Reuters) – Finland’s Kalle Rovanpera became the youngest-ever World Rally Championship winner on Sunday as he clinched his sixth victory of the season at Rally New Zealand to claim the title.
The Toyota driver, who celebrated his 22nd birthday on Saturday, won in 2 hours 48 minutes 1.4 seconds to move 64 points clear of Hyundai’s Ott Tanak and eclipse the record previously set by Scotland’s Colin McRae in 1995.
Rovanpera and co-driver Jonne Halttunen went into the race needing to score eight points more than Latvia’s Tanak to clinch the title with two rounds remaining in the 2022 season, having already claimed five wins so far this year.
The Finn won the race ahead of France’s Sebastien Ogier while Tanak could only finish third, ensuring Rovanpera opened up an unassailable lead after the final races in Spain and Japan.
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Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong, Editing by Kim Coghill
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