Kalle Rovanperä overcomes three more specials and walks towards victory in Kenya

Kalle Rovanperä overcomes three more specials and walks towards victory in Kenya

Few ingredients remained for the Safari Rally to be even tougher. However, the WRC seems to have a good script writer and the natural complexity of the Kenyan event has been added a strong storm on SS12 and SS13. Despite dragging some physical discomfort, the Finn Kalle Rovanperä has endorsed a good ‘sack’ of time to Elfyn Evans in the last two stages and has an increasingly solid lead in Kenya. Evans himself and Takamoto Katsuta complete the podium and Toyota’s triplet in it after Thierry Neuville’s accident.

The second run through ‘Soysambu’ ended with a scratch by Elfyn Evans, closely followed by Kalle Rovanperä. He also delivered a puncture by Craig Breen, as well as the traditional stamps of suspended dust, soft sand and ‘fesh-fesh’. Nothing out of the ordinary and at the same time extraordinary in the development of the afternoon loop on Saturday, since the rain made an appearance with force during SS12 and turned the last two stages into hell very different from the one that the pilots had had to navigate up to that moment.

Where before there was loose soil and soft sand, mud appeared en masse, turning the areas where ‘fesh-fesh’ was produced into authentic quagmires. Nevertheless, Kalle Rovanperä managed to hit the table with his scratch in SS12 after beating Elfyn Evans by 11.3 seconds. She did not get the best time in SS13 by very little, since Sébastien Ogier slipped ahead of her, but the leader of the World Championship and the Safari Rally put Evans back for a long time until shooting your lead over 40 seconds.

While Kalle Rovanperä gave a new recital, Hyundai suffered the bitterest face of the Safari Rally again. Ott Tänak couldn’t even get out of the evening loop after his problems in SS10, while Thierry Neuville was out of the race in the last special of the day after crashing into a tree overcoming an area flooded with water. A painful abandonment for the Belgian, since in the rain on SS12 he had managed to storm the third position on the podium. Even with a puncture, Takamoto Katsuta recovered the lost third place.

With rain, failures in the windshield wipers and many frights in the mud of the last section, a day that leaves Kalle Rovanperä in front of the general with 40.3 seconds ahead of Elfyn Evans. Takamoto Katsuta closes the podium ahead of the French Sébastien Ogier, which draws a truly spectacular 1-2-3-4 for Toyota. Despite his accident, once the 10-minute penalty was added for not completing the last section, Thierry Neuville ranks fifth overall and so the last stage should start.

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Oliver Solberg, with all kinds of problems and without his car’s windscreen wipers doing their job, managed to close the day in a lot of trouble to maintain sixth position in the rally. Craig Breen and Jourdan Serderidis are seventh and eighth, just ahead of a Kajetan Kajetanowicz who is leading in WRC2. Sébastien Loeb closes the points zone, despite reaching the end of SS13 with a puncture. Beyond the head positions, Maxine Wahome continues to lead the WRC3 category.

Qualifying after SS13 of the 69th Kenya Safari Rally

Kenya Safari Rally ends this Sunday (13:07h) with the dispute of the six sections of the third stage of the test. Pilots and co-pilots face each other 82.70 kilometers against the clock.

Photos: Toyota Gazoo Racing