News Racing

Watch the Youngest-Ever WRC Champ Mob a Classic Toyota Celica Rally Car

It turns out the kids are alright.
MattyB727 YouTube

The Olds often think that today’s youngsters can’t drive a car or truck with a manual transmission—even adding “equipped with Millennial anti-theft device” bumper stickers to manual cars. Well, they should meet 22-year-old Finnish pro rally driver (and 2022 World Rally Champion) Kalle Rovanperä.

The videos below are making the rounds on social media, showing Rovanperä driving the wheels off of an old Group A Toyota Celica GT-Four ST185 from the early ’90s. This was shot at the Rallylegend event in San Marino back in October, and what a spectacle it is to behold.

Despite his young age, he’s obviously way more equipped to drive it at the limit than probably 99% of the human population. Yes, yes, we all know that the Finns are heavily invested in car control education—but this is still quite an amazing feat.

The Group A Celica GT-Four ST185 made around 300 horsepower and 340 pound-feet of torque from its turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. It was equipped with four-wheel drive, a manual transmission (no paddles), and no nannies to speak of. Just a careful right foot and early ’90s turbocharged thrills. It competed in the World Rally Championship between 1992 and 1996, winning the championship in 1992, 1993, and 1994.

It’s always cool seeing a young pro having a fun time behind the wheel of a classic race car. Like when Pato O’Ward drove the McLaren MP4/5B that Ayrton Senna won the 1990 F1 World Championship in, or when Valentino Rossi piloted the Mazda 787B at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

This serves as proof that there’s a lot of passion among young folks for engaging analog cars at all levels. It’s a shame that these are becoming increasingly harder (or more expensive) to attain.

Got a tip? Email us at