16-year-old Finnish rally star Kalle Rovanperä, son of World Rally Championship event winner Harri Rovanperä, has just secured a personal sponsorship deal with Austrian energy drinks company Red Bull.
Despite his very young age, Rovanperä Jr. has taken the rallying world by storm by winning last year’s Latvian Rally Championship, and so far, he’s in the lead of this year’s championship.
In addition to competing in the Baltic country’s national series, where drivers are allowed to compete from the age of just 14, he has also started competing in both his native Finland and in the Italian Rally Championship, thanks to special waivers from both countries’ national governing bodies, and is also set to début in the World Rally Championship at Rally GB next October.
As for the Red Bull deal, the young Finn is extremely satisfied, claiming the Austrian brand to be “the coolest in the rally world”.
I am really happy to be part of them, Rovanperä told Autosport.
“It is a big step for me in my rally career. We were in talks with Red Bull for some time already, the sponsor deal means more possibilities for the future.
“That is how it is nowadays, you need to be seen in the media.”
Last weekend, Rovanperä took part in Italy’s Rally Adriatico. He is competing in that country for the Peugeot Italia team, alongside local star Paolo Andreucci, to gain experience of asphalt rallies.
Sadly for the Finn, his rally ended in retirement, after a rollover damaged his radiator. He was also deeply unsatisfied with the car he gets to drive, a R5-spec Peugeot 208 T16, whose engine, he claims, ” feels like the one in S2000 car. There is no torque in the low revs at all. It suits badly to the stages like we had this weekend in Italy.
“That is also the feature that partly caused our roll.
Rovanperä will return to competition this weekend, taking part in Latvia’s Rally Talsi at the wheel of a Skoda Fabia R5, run by his countryman Toni Gardemeister, also a former WRC competitor.