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WRC – Safari Chief Ogier Underneath Stress From Toyota Staff-Mate Rovanperä

WRC – Safari Chief Ogier Underneath Stress From Toyota Staff-Mate Rovanperä

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Chaos late on Saturday blows the battle large open in Kenya.

Toyota Gazoo Racing team-mates Sébastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanperä will go head-to-head for Safari Rally Kenya supremacy after Saturday’s remaining stage blew the victory battle large open.

On a day when Toyota GR Yaris vehicles topped the timesheets in each single stage, Ogier regarded set to finish this penultimate leg comfortably in entrance of his championship-leading colleague, the Frenchman comfortable to measure his tempo and maintain a watchful eye on these behind after overcoming tyre harm in SS8.

However a sudden downpour within the closing 31.04km Sleeping Warrior triggered chaos. The dry and dusty roads rapidly turned to mud and supplied minimal grip in circumstances akin to ice.

Ogier, the final of the of the Rally1 vehicles into the stage, was maybe hit more durable by the circumstances than any of his rivals, limping to the end line with two gradual punctures. It meant the Frenchman’s benefit was sliced in half after conceding greater than 15sec and he’ll begin Sunday’s six-stage finale simply 16.7sec clear on the high.

A repeat 1-2-3-4 Safari end appears to be like all however assured for Toyota, however which driver might be heading it come tomorrow afternoon is anyone’s guess.

“It’s okay,” Ogier insisted. “I imply, we’re nonetheless within the lead in order that’s a very powerful. It’s only a case of unhealthy luck. I believe not one of the drivers had been actually ready for [the rain] as a result of it’s not enjoyable, it’s nearly surviving.”

There was extra drama within the battle for the ultimate podium spot after Esapekka Lappi, who held the place till SS12, retired his Hyundai i20 N with suspected propshaft failure.

Elfyn Evans inherited the place earlier than being handed by Takamoto Katsuta, though the Welshman fared higher within the moist climate circumstances and moved again in entrance. 16.7sec break up the Toyota-driving duo at shut of play, with Rovanperä greater than two minutes additional up the highway.

Lappi’s demise, coupled with Thierry Neuville’s Friday retirement, implies that Hyundai’s hopes now relaxation on Dani Sordo’s shoulders. The Spaniard trailed Evans by 1min 12.3sec to carry fifth in a single day with Ott Tänak virtually 5 minutes behind.

Tänak’s Safari frustrations continued when he and co-driver Martin Järveoja stopped in Soysambu 2 to hold out their second wheel change of the week. Pierre-Louis Loubet, driving the same M-Sport Ford Puma, held seventh regardless of a run-in with a bush in SS10.

Grégoire Munster’s retirement handed the WRC2 result in Kajetan Kajetanowicz, now eighth general. Neuville climbed to ninth by the day’s finish whereas Oliver Solberg, who just isn’t registered to attain WRC2 factors this week, accomplished the leaderboard.

Sunday’s finale options three levels – every run twice – positioned on the southern facet of Lake Naivasha.

Main positions after Saturday:
1. S Ogier / V Landais FRA Toyota GR Yaris 2h 43m 49.2s
2. Ok Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota GR Yaris +16.7s
3. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris +2m 23.3s
4. T Katsuta / A Johnston JPN Toyota GR Yaris +2m 40.0s
5. D Sordo / C Carrera ESP Hyundai i20 N +3m 52.3s
6. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Ford Puma +8m 38.9s

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