WRC Safari Rally Kenya: Rovanperä dominates Friday, Lappi & Tänak out

WRC Safari Rally: Rovanperä dominates Friday, Lappi & Tänak out

Toyota driver Kalle Rovanperä leads Safari Rally Kenya after Friday’s stages. The reigning World Champion showed dominant form as he won all six stages today.

The Finn’s lead is just under a minute at 56.9 seconds over his team-mate Elfyn Evans. Takamoto Katsuta makes it a Toyota 1-2-3 overnight, just 3.9 seconds behind Evans.

Championship leader Thierry Neuville is the first non-Toyota in P4 overall, 6.5 seconds shy of the podium. Neuville, who led the rally after yesterday’s opening Super Special Stage in Nairobi, dropped 19 seconds in stage 3 after hitting a bank on the outside of a fast left-hander. The impact knocked the tyre off the rim, causing further bodywork damage in the process.

Adrien Fourmaux struggled in the morning loop, but changes during mid-day service meant the Frenchman could push more in the second loop. The M-Sport driver is just under 40 seconds behind Neuville and just under two minutes ahead of his team-mate Grégoire Munster.

The Luxembourger isn’t taking any risks which results in him being in ‘no man’s land’.

Gus Greensmith sits P7 overnight, leading the WRC2 category by over 3 minutes. The Brit was relieved to finish the final stage of the day as he was battling sickness. Jourdan Serderidis is eighth with the Puma Rally1 ahead of Kajetan Kajetanowicz who is second in WRC2. The top 10 is rounded off by Oliver Solberg. Solberg had a frustrating day, puncturing in stage 3 and again in stage 4. The Swede dropped more than 3 and a half minutes to WRC2 leader Greensmith with the two punctures. The Rally2 cars are running different tyres compared to the Rally1 cars. Solberg: “What the hell can you do? Crazy high pressures. You take it easy in the rocky section and you still get a slow puncture. Without WRC (Rally1) tyres it’s no fun.”

Drama for Hyundai in second loop

It was a dramatic second loop for Hyundai. Esapekka Lappi, winner last time out in Sweden, had to stop his i20 N Rally1 due to transmission problems in SS5. The Finn was in second at mid-day service, 15.5 seconds adrift of Rovanperä.

Ott Tänak inherited Lappi second place, but the 2019 World Champion crashed out in SS6 after he hit a compression in a left-hander which sent him straight into a bank on the outside resulting him to retire for the day due to the sustained damage.

Lappi and Tänak will be looking forward to Sunday to salvage points from the weekend.

Find everything you need to know (Itinerary, Maps, Rally Guides, Entry list) about the WRC Safari Rally Kenya here.

Saturday’s action contains three stages which are all run twice, including the 36.08-long ‘’Sleeping Warrior” stages. The six stages sum up a massive 160.96 competitive kilometres. SS8 gets underway at 08:01 local time (06:01 CET, 05:01 GMT).

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WRC Safari Rally Kenya 2024 – Standings after Friday (SS7)

#DriversCarTime / Diff. to 1st
1.Rovanperä / HalttunenToyota GR Yaris Rally11:16:22.6
2.Evans / MartinToyota GR Yaris Rally1+56.9
3.Katsuta / JohnstonToyota GR Yaris Rally1+1:00.8
4.Neuville / WydaegheHyundai i20 N Rally1+1:07.3
5.Fourmaux / CoriaFord Puma Rally1+1:46.6
6.Munster / LoukaFord Puma Rally1+3:34.2
7.Greensmith / AnderssonSkoda Fabia RS Rally2+6:51.3
8.Serderidis / MiclotteFord Puma Rally1+9:11.7
9.Kajetanowicz / SzczepaniakSkoda Fabia RS Rally2+10:14.3
10.Solberg / EdmondsonSkoda Fabia RS Rally2+10:28.8

Photo: Toyota Gazoo Racing