World Rally Championship: 'Superhero' Kalle Rovanpera becomes youngest ever champion

Rovanpera
At 22 years and one day old, Kalle Rovanpera is five years and 88 days younger than Colin McRae - the man whose age record he has broken

Toyota's Kalle Rovanpera said he felt "relief" after becoming the youngest ever World Rally Championship winner with victory at Rally New Zealand.

Rovanpera, who turned 22 a day earlier, made it six wins this season to seal glory with co-driver Jonne Halttunen.

"It was a small wait after a few difficult rallies," said Rovanpera, who is more than five years younger than previous record holder Colin McRae.

"It's quite a big relief after such a good season and finally we are here."

He added: "The biggest thanks goes to the team - they made this rocket this year."

Rovanpera finished in two hours 48 minutes 1.4 seconds to establish an unassailable 64-point lead over Hyundai's Ott Tanak - who came third behind Toyota's Sebastien Ogier - and break the record set by Scottish driver McRae for Subaru in 1996.

"It's really important what Kalle has done," said Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala after Rovanpera became the first Finnish champion since Marcus Gronholm in 2002.

"First of all, it's amazing for a 22-year-old to be breaking all the records and taking the championship title.

"At the same time, it is so important for Finland because it has been 20 years, and that's a very long time. I am so grateful that Kalle did it - he is a superhero."

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