First four places for the Japanese team. The Finn precedes his teammates Elfyn Evans, Takamoto Katsuta and Sébastien Ogier after a rally full of pitfalls and full of twists. The race and championship standings, with Kalle increasingly leading

    Matteo Solinghi


    June 26

    Toyota is great in Kenya, where at the Safari Rally – sixth round of the WRC World Championship – it places four cars in the first four places. It is literally impossible to do better than this, with Kalle Rovanpera winning and increasingly leading the drivers’ standings, now with a 65-point advantage over Thierry Neuville, the latter winner of the Power Stage. An extraordinary result that of the Japanese house, which reaffirms not only its supremacy in terms of pure speed, but also and above all of reliability, where Hyundai and Ford M-Sport still have to work to get to taste the relaxed air that you breathe underneath. the Toyota marquee. On the podium Elfyn Evans (finally a positive weekend for him after a first part of the 2022 season to forget) and Takamoto Katsuta, who in Kenya uses his intelligence to conquer another podium, here where in 2021 he achieved his best career result with second place.

    Wrc Rally Safari Kenya: an endurance race

    The Safari Rally has always been almost more an endurance race than pure speed: extreme heat, a very fine sand-earth that flows into the terrible fesh fesh, sudden showers like on Saturday that transform the special stages into huge muddy fords and the unexpected events caused by the wild fauna of Kenya. Conditions at the limit that make this event unique in the World Rally scene, with a very special charm. Coming out unscathed from four days of this type of race is not something to be taken for granted and not even by everyone: the driving error and the technical problem with the car are always around the corner, ready to give a barrage of twists and turns. This is the context in which a spectacular edition of the Safari Rally was staged.

    Wrc Rally Safari Kenya: the situation on the last day of competition

    The WRC World Championship drivers arrive at the last day of the Safari Rally race in this situation: Kalle Rovanpera (Toyota) starts Sunday morning with a 40 “advantage over his teammate Elfyn Evans and 1 ‘and 25” over the other GR Yaris Rally1, that of Takamoto Katsuta, in turn chased by the fourth car of the Japanese brand, that of Sébastien Ogier, 2’38 ”behind the Finnish leader. One at a time, all the rivals of the young Kalle left the scene: Sébastien Loeb (Ford M-Sport) and Sébastien Ogier (Toyota) already on Friday, the first due to a fire and the second for a puncture that caused him lost 2’20 ”on the longest special stage of the entire Rally; Ott Tanak (Hyundai) and Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) on Saturday, with the Estonian out with a broken propshaft – very unfortunate after being left with the gearshift in his hand on Friday – the Belgian stopped after stage 13 .

    Wrc Rally Safari Kenya: Day4 and Power Stage

    All broken down with the Super Rally rule, but inevitably very detached from the leading group, it is especially in the interest of Neuville and Tanak to finish the day to scrape together some points in the Power Stage, the last special of every Rally, which guarantees extra points. A problem with the power steering prevents Tanak from fulfilling his mission, thus giving the last twist in a Rally rich from this point of view. The last 6 stages, those of Sunday, for a total of 82.7 km of timed sections does not reshuffle the cards, quite the contrary. With positions practically frozen, there are few riders to take risks, Neuville above all who signs the best time by gaining 5 points more. Excellent pace also for Sébastien Loeb (Ford M-Sport), less than a second behind the Belgian. What matters most, however, is the umpteenth victory of a now mature Kalle Rovanpera, ready to shoulder the weight of the legacy left by two phenomena of this discipline, Loeb and Ogier.

    world wrc, safari kenya rally: the rankings

    WRC World Championship, Rally Safari Kenya: final classification

    1. K. Rovanpera (Fin-Toyota) in 3 h 40’24 “9
    2. E.Evans (Gb-Toyota) at 52 “8
    3. T. Katsuta (Giap-Toyota) at 1’42 “7
    4. S.Ogier (Fra-Toyota) at 2’10 “3
    5. T.Neuville (Bel-Hyundai) at 10’40 “9
    6. C.Breen (Irl-Ford M-Sport) at 23’27 “9
    7. J.Serderidis (Gre-Ford) at 30’16 “5
    8. S.Loeb (Fra-Ford M-Sport) at 32’12 “6
    9. K.Kajetanowicz (Pol-Skoda-Rally2) at 35’37 “6
    10. O.Solberg (Sve-Hyundai) at 37’36 “6.

    World Wrc: championship standings

    1. K. Rovanpera (Fin-Toyota) 145 points
    2. T.Neuville (Bel-Hyundai) 80
    3. O.Tanak (East-Hyundai) 62
    4. T. Katsuta (Giap-Toyota) 62
    5. C.Breen (Irl-Ford M-Sport) 58
    6. E.Evans (Gb-Toyota) 57
    7. S.Ogier (Fra-Toyota) 34
    8. D. Sordo (Spa-Hyundai) 34
    9. S.Loeb (Fra-Ford M-Sport) 32
    10. G.Greensmith (Gb-Ford M-Sport) 28.