Harri and Kalle have known each other for 16 years of course: the amount of time that Kalle has been on this earth. But this is the first time that they’ve sat down together to talk about their respective rally careers. Harri drove for some of the top teams from 1997 to 2005, starting and finishing his WRC career with Pirelli. Kalle has used Pirelli from the very start, adding the Italian Championship with Peugeot Italia to his busy programme this year.
Harri, when did you first realise that Kalle had a special talent?
HR: “Round about when he was eight, but I never pushed him: it was something he wanted to do himself. So I got him an old Toyota Starlet to play around with on the frozen lake at home in Finland. Then he wanted to do this rallysprint junior event in Estonia when he was 10, and I could see straight away that he had this huge will to win. I thought to myself…OK, this could be interesting!”
Kalle, was driving something you always wanted to do, inspired by your dad?
KR: “I’m actually too young ever to have seen my dad driving during his career, so I don't think it really came from him. When I was little I always loved bikes and quad bikes and I think it just followed from that. I first drove a normal car when I was six, then I had my first go in a rally car when I was eight. And I loved it straight away.”
Harri, do you think Kalle can be quicker than you?
HR: “We’ve been talking about this for two years now: Kalle is saying to me ‘let’s go into the forest with the same car and see who is faster!’ But I’ve not been driving for 10 years: so maybe I will only accept the challenge if I can practise for one week first! Unfortunately, I think he’ll still be faster than me…”
Kalle, what do you think?
KR: “We have to try, then we will know for sure! But it’s true that dad hasn’t been driving for a long time. On the other hand, when he was driving he was one of the very fastest drivers, so it would be interesting to see. Maybe one day he will agree to race me!”