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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Ogier holds off Rovanpera to assert victory in tense end

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The eight-time world champion and co-driver Vincent Landais got here beneath stress from championship chief Rovanpera throughout Sunday’s ultimate six phases to clinch his third win of a partial 2023 WRC marketing campaign by 6.7s. The margin was the closest within the occasion’s 70-year historical past.

Ogier produced a faultless drive on Kenya’s difficult, tough gravel phases, assuming the rally lead from M-Sport’s Ott Tanak on Friday’s morning first take a look at, with street opener Rovanpera in second.

The Frenchman loved a close to excellent Friday, profitable 4 of the six phases, helped by an impressed name to take just one spare, as a substitute of two, that lightened his GR Yaris. An absence of hybrid on the finish of the morning loop was his solely challenge.

Ogier then stamped his authority on the occasion, extending this lead over Rovanpera to 32.0s, regardless of struggling a puncture, earlier than the a lot anticipated rain triggered chaos throughout Saturday’s ultimate stage.

Rovanpera halved the deficit to 16.7s after a masterful show in extraordinarily treacherous circumstances because the Finn gained the stage, whereas Ogier misplaced time to a double entrance puncture.

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Though blissful to bag robust championship factors by ending second, Rovanpera continued to push on Sunday, lowering the hole to eight.1s, earlier than Ogier responded by profitable stage 15, regardless of dropping his rear wing and tailgate after clipping a tree.

The hole continued to fluctuate till 9.2s separated the pair forward of the ultimate stage, however Ogier clung on, regardless of a rock damaging his automobile, to seal victory. Rovanpera may solely the muster the third quickest time on the powerstage as a consequence of a scarcity of energy from his automobile, however prolonged his championship result in 37 factors.

Kalle Rovanperä, Jonne Halttunen, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Picture by: Toyota Racing

Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta completed third and fourth to reflect the 1-2-3-4 Toyota scored on the occasion final yr.

The journey for Evans and Katsuta was removed from easy. Evans remained in contact with the lead two occupying third till Saturday morning when the Welshman dropped greater than a minute on stage eight after his GR Yaris took on an excessive amount of water in a water splash and stalled. After dropping extra time to a puncture, Evans additionally escaped a few scares that broken his rear wing, earlier than coming house in third, 2m58.5s, adrift.

Katsuta additionally endured an eventful rally that started with the Japanese driver rolling his GR Yaris in Wednesday’s shakedown. A damaged decrease suspension arm, a run in with a zebra and a conflict with a tree left his automobile considerably broken on Friday. However two phases wins throughout a a lot smoother Saturday and Sunday, albeit hampered by a leaking radiator on the ultimate stage, helped him to fourth, 3m23.8s behind.

Toyota’s dominance was contrasted by reliability points and misfortune for Hyundai and M-Sport Ford.

Dani Sordo led Hyundai’s cost to complete fifth (+5m05.4s) though his rally wasn’t helped when he grew to become misplaced in his personal mud on Friday previous to an influence steering challenge that struck on Sunday.

Nevertheless, Sordo was the one i20 N to finish the 355.92 kilometres. Thierry Neuville’s championship cost was dealt a blow when he retired from fourth on Friday as a consequence of damaged front-left suspension. The Belgian rejoined the rally and recovered to complete eighth and declare the 5 bonus factors for profitable the powerstage.

Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Staff Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Picture by: Tomek Kaliński

Staff-mate Esapekka Lappi starred at instances on his Kenya debut following a double prop shaft failure that prevented him from logging time in shakedown. Lappi, who additionally sustained a puncture, inherited third after Evans’ stall, however a 3rd prop shaft failure pressured him into retirement on Saturday. The Finn rejoined the occasion on Sunday however encountered one other mechanical challenge.

M-Sport’s rally began brightly with Tanak profitable Thursday’s Nairobi superspecial by 0.1s from Ogier. Nevertheless, his rally unrivalled on Friday when he was delayed by a pig and a gaggle of zebra, earlier than a puncture value the Estonian greater than two minutes, having already been struggling together with his Ford Puma’s dealing with.

Unable to problem the main group Tanak recovered to sixth (+9m14.4s) forward of team-mate Pierre-Louis Loubet, who misplaced time to an influence drawback, two punctures and dealing with points.

The highest 10 was accomplished by main WRC2 runners Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Oliver Solberg.

WRC Safari Rally Kenya – prime 10 outcomes

 Cla   Driver   Time   Hole 
Sébastien Ogier 3h30m42.5s  
Kalle Rovanperä 3h30m49.3s 6.7s
Elfyn Evans 3h33m41.1s 2m58.6s
Takamoto Katsuta 3h34m06.3s 3m23.8s
Dani Sordo 3h35m48.0s 5m05.5s
Ott Tänak 3h39m57.0s 9m14.5s
P-L.Loubet 3h46m58.3s 16m15.8s
Thierry Neuville 3h55m29.5s 24m47.0s
Okay.Kajetanowicz 3h57m16.0s 26m33.5s
10  Oliver Solberg 3h57m46.5s 27m04.0s

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