YOUNG GUN: Finnish driver Kalle Rovanperä will get his road-car licence before Kennards Hire Rally Australia.
YOUNG GUN: Finnish driver Kalle Rovanperä will get his road-car licence before Kennards Hire Rally Australia. WRC

Age no barrier for this young Finnish WRC prodigy

FINNISH prodigy Kalle Rovanperä, 17, will be the youngest driver in the FIA World Rally Championship when he contests the Kennards Hire Rally Australia in November.

Celebrating his birthday on October 1, Rovanperä will be aged 17 years and 46 days when he starts the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship closing round on the Coffs Coast.

He will be not only the youngest WRC driver, but also 119 days younger than the Netherland's Max Verstappen when he made his debut as Formula 1's youngest starter at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix.

Front-running British team M-Sport has confirmed Rovanperä will drive a Ford Fiesta R5 in the WRC2 category at Rally Australia. His first event in the car will be three weeks earlier at Wales Rally GB.

"Kalle Rovanperä's entry is fantastic news for spectators and yet another reason not to miss Rally Australia this year,” Clerk of Course Wayne Kenny said.

"He's a huge talent and a potential champion and is bound to add some fireworks to WRC2 - but there will be action aplenty elsewhere in the field too.

"His senior teammate Sébastien Ogier is potentially going to be fighting for the goal Kalle one day hopes to reach - the FIA World Rally Championship - and Molly Taylor, Nathan Quinn and Harry Bates are definitely in a showdown for the Australian Rally Championship.”

Rovanperä is following the tracks of his father Harri, who was a WRC driver for SEAT, Peugeot, Mitsubishi and Skoda between 1993 and 2006. He won Rally Sweden in 2001 and contested Rally Australia eight times.

Rovanperä, the newest candidate for the ranks of the Flying Finns, was born in the regional city of Jyväskylä, headquarters for the legendary Rally Finland.



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