Toyota boss explains Rovanpera’s WRC Finland Power Stage absence

Toyota World Rally Championship boss Jari-Matti Latvala has revealed the reasons why Kalle Rovanpera was withdrawn from Rally Finland before the final stage.

Toyota boss explains Rovanpera’s WRC Finland Power Stage absence

Pre-event favourite Rovanpera returned to the action on Sunday following a crash on Saturday’s Stage 10 resulting in the Finn suffering a heavy head on collision with a sand bank.

After receiving the all clear by doctors, Rovanpera returned, but was reduced to a “high-speed recce” due to some soreness and pain from Saturday’s impact.

Rovanpera was deployed on Sunday morning’s first three stages as an insurance policy to ensure the team secured as many manufacturer points as possible should anything happen to eventual rally winner Elfyn Evans and fifth-placed Sebastien Ogier.

With the team in a strong position Rovanpera was retired from the event before the Power Stage to allow for the 21-year-old to recover in time for a test day next week.

“Yesterday when he had the accident when he hit the sand bank and I think his arms were a bit crossed, and basically in the hit his arm was pushed backwards and he got some pain on the back,” said Latvala. 

“He went to the doctor and everything was fine but of course the muscles are really solid and he was not feeling that comfortable to drive.

“We just wanted him to drive the morning in case something happened to our main two cars so he could secure some championship points.

“But with things looking good we told him he didn’t need to drive the Power Stage.

“This was the target, he was only going to drive when it was needed and there was no need to put extra stress on the body because in two weeks’ time we have Catalunya, and he needs to be testing at the end of next week, so it is important that he can just rest now.”

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After a disappointing end to his home event, Rovanpera is already setting his sights on the next round in Spain from 14-17 October.

“For us we just had to drive through the stages today,” said Rovanpera.

“The team did a great job fixing the car yesterday but the damage was quite big and the car wasn’t a hundred percent, so we had to take care not to jump or stress the car too much.

“I also had pain in my back from yesterday. So we just drove through to be there to score some manufacturers’ points if it was needed.

“For me this was a difficult weekend where we had been expecting a lot, but I’m looking forward to Spain.”

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