The two-time world champion has penned a new multi-year deal with Toyota but is set to drive only half the WRC rallies next year alongside co-driver Jonne Halttunen.    

The announcement arrives off the back of successfully defending his world title this year after becoming the youngest-ever world champion in 2022.   

The 23-year-old says the reason for the decision is to allow him to “recharge his batteries” ahead of a return to full-time WRC competition in 2025. Rovanpera started driving rally cars when he was eight and has rapidly risen up the lower categories before joining the WRC’s top flight with Toyota in 2020.  

However, the demands of the last few years have prompted the call to scale back his commitments for a season.  

“First of all, I’m really happy to sign again for Toyota Gazoo Racing. The past few years have been really good and we have been really successful so I’m really happy to continue with the team,” said Rovanpera.    

“Next year is going to be a bit different for me and Jonne as we will see a few changes. It is going to be interesting as we will be driving a half-season with Jonne and there are a few reasons behind that.   

“But the biggest reason of course is that I have been driving in rallies for a really long time and I just felt that now was a good moment to have a bit of a break to recharge the batteries and have a bit of time of let’s say to have more energy and push for the next coming years.  

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Kalle Rovanpera, Jonne Halttunen, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

“Of course, I understand that it seems that we are really young and it hasn’t been so long for us in the WRC category.   

“But I have been driving a long time let’s say six or seven full seasons in the smaller categories and when you are young and most of the time you are rallying it feels a lot. I think it is a good moment to have a bit of a rest from that.  

“It takes a lot of time and a lot of energy to do these seasons, so that is definitely the biggest reason. We are going around the world all of the time and when you are pushing for the championships and for wins all the time, let’s say mentally you are in competition mode throughout the season, and it takes a lot of effort and strength to do it.”  

While Rovanpera’s WRC schedule is yet to be defined, it is anticipated that he will compete in other motorsport events next year and will continue participating in drifting.  

“Let’s see what comes next year and what else I will do but I think everybody knows I love all kinds of motorsport,” he added.  

“I just hope we will have some fun events to do in drifting and rallying and what else I don’t know yet, but I’m sure we will drive something nice.   

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“The contract is multi-year so for sure it is only one season of this and then back fighting for the championships full-time.  

“It is going to be definitely a different approach next year. It is not fully decided which races we will do but some races that are really good and positive for us. I’m really looking forward to be starting in some nice starting positions on the rallies, so I’m sure we are going to enjoy it.”

2023-11-20T11:05:44Z dg43tfdfdgfd