It seems that this time it was Seb Ogier who tested first on the gravel of Portugal, after young Kalle Rovanpera tested first in Croatia. No one knows how they manage the testing program but as I heard they always send the top drivers last to finish the test with fine tuning after they already have some set-up for the surface of the rally.
So the first one to test was seven times World Rally Champion Seb Ogier, and after that it is young Kalle Rovanpera who tested.
Rovanpera is from Finland and Scandinavians are naturally born gravel drivers. We saw how Rovanpera performed at tarmac of Croatia - he went off on the first special stage without chance of the restart under super rally rules because the roll cage was bent and FIA won't allow that. Security of the drivers and spectators is above everything.
Rovanpera will now have a confidence problem because I don't remember when was the last time he retired on the first special stage of the rally. But that can happen to anyone in this sport.
He drives rally cars from the age of 8 and his father Hari is ex -works Peugeot and Mitsubishi driver so he knows very well how to repair a psychology damage on his son.
I think that family support is the best thing that you can get in motorsport. I had that from my father in the early starts (not financial that much, I had to earn the money to drive and for the car).
I guess that Rovanpera will take the safe approach on the first day in Portugal just to rebuild the confidence and then he will start to push.
The good thing is that he won't have to open the road on gravel as it is just the bad thing to clean it in front of other drivers. Seb Ogier will have to do it for them.
Watch the test video and see how young Kalle progress...