The 21-year-old ended three days of intense competition just 6.8 seconds behind the Hyundai I20 N Rally1 of Ott Tanak, who chalked up a third victory on the Jyvaskyla-based event to enter the history books. Rovanpera conceded top spot on the Sunday leg of the high-speed gravel classic and decided instead to save his tyres for the Power Stage where a fastest time bagged him an additional five points.

It means the Finn’s search for a first win on home soil continues – but Toyota Gazoo Racing Team Principal Jari-Matti Latvala argues fans and media alike “have to see the bigger picture” and the reasons for not asking more questions of a hard-charging Tanak over the closing miles.

“If you want to win this rally, you have to drive flat-out: you cannot think about anything else," he said. "Tanak was going all-out for the victory and he did a fantastic job. Kalle had to think about the Championship. He still came very close to the win but he was doing a clever job, bringing the points home and still attacking in the Power Stage to increase his Championship lead."

Despite running as first car on the road on Friday, Rovanpera produced another masterclass in minimising time loss as he carved out a racing line for the crews that followed behind; he was only 21 seconds off the overall lead and 19.3 seconds off the podium places at the end of that day.

“It was a tough fight but overall, I think we can be happy,” he reflected. “It was quite clear that it would not really be possible to catch Ott [on Sunday] when he was taking risks which I didn’t need to take. So, I was just trying to stay close, match his speed, and then on the Power Stage we pushed again and got the five points.

“Of course, I would have liked to win at home but I think we can be quite proud of what we did given what I was expecting with the road-cleaning on Friday. We tried to catch up, we couldn’t quite do it but we still have a bigger points lead than before.”

He added: “The support was really amazing, seeing all the videos and clips from the stages, people cheering so much for us, so much support. It gives you a bit more extra motivation to try and give a good fight for them and like we did on Saturday I think everybody was enjoying us pushing hard and trying to catch up. Still, we tried our best, still push a bit on the Power Stage and I hope everybody liked that.”