Safari Rally Kenya: Day 2
The Safari shows its bite for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing
The first full day of FIA World Rally Championship action in Africa for nearly 20 years proved to be incredibly demanding for the crews, including all three TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team pairings. TGR WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta is the highest-placed Toyota Yaris WRC driver on Safari Rally Kenya in second overall, while championship leader Sébastien Ogier occupies fourth overall.
The event lived up to its legendary reputation as rallying’s toughest challenge over the course of the six stages held on Friday.
Elfyn Evans was running in fourth place overall before he stopped at the end of SS3 Kedong (the longest stage of the rally, at 32.68 kilometres) after he hit a large rock on the inside of a corner. He was unable to repair the damage in order to continue, but will restart tomorrow.
Kalle Rovanperä set the fastest time in both SS4 and SS5 to briefly claim the rally lead. His hopes of regaining that lead in the final test were ended when his car got stuck in deep ruts and he had to be towed out – dropping him to seventh place overnight.
Ogier lost time during the morning with a technical issue and fell to seventh place, but recovered ground to finish the day in fourth. He and Katsuta set the joint fastest time in SS7, with Katsuta completing an impressive and trouble-free day in second place, just 18.8 seconds away from the lead.
Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)
“We have seen the real nature of the Safari Rally today. It was still looking like it might be a strong finish to the day for us, but unfortunately Kalle had his problem in the final stage, one that is unique to this rally. I’m really happy for Takamoto: he was doing exactly the job we discussed this morning, which was to stay consistent and calm and the result will come. The problem for Seb was unfortunate, but he is also still in a good position as a lot can still happen. Kalle is not too far off either and Elfyn will also restart, so we can still get good points here if we can get to the finish.”
Sébastien Ogier (Driver car 1)
“We expected tough conditions here and it has not been a surprise to see everyone having a lot of trouble today. We were a bit unlucky with the problem that we had this morning, which meant we had to drive slowly to bring the car back to service, but in the end we kept fighting. This afternoon the conditions were even more extreme, but we managed to get through without big dramas. We’re back in fourth tonight and a lot of things are still possible.”
Elfyn Evans (Driver car 33)
“It was a massive disappointment for our day to end so early. I made a fairly basic mistake, to be honest, and I’m kicking myself for that. The stone was sticking out further than what I had marked in our pace-notes and we clipped it. On an event like this, you have to try and fix something if you can, but once I could inspect the damage I knew there was no chance to continue today. Now we have to look forward to the rest of the weekend and try and salvage something from it.”
Kalle Rovanperä (Driver car 69)
“This morning I think we started quite smart, taking it carefully to see how the car will handle the rough parts, and then we picked up the pace a bit. The afternoon started well with the fastest time, and I think we were controlling it well. But in the last stage just after the start, a lot of dust came up from the ground and I couldn’t see anything, so I had to slow down, and then we got stuck in the ruts. It’s really frustrating because we were in a good situation before that. But the rally is not over and we will try to take what we can.”
End of day two (Friday):
1 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 1h23m19.1s
2 Takamoto Katsuta/Dan Barritt (Toyota Yaris WRC) +18.8s
3 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +55.8s
4 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m49.4s
5 Gus Greensmith/Chris Patterson (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1m56.1s
6 Adrien Fourmaux/Renaud Jamoul (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2m19.1s
7 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) +9m30.2s
TBC Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) +49m12.8s
(Results as of 18:30 on Friday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)
On Saturday the action moves north to roads around Lake Elmenteita for another three stages to be repeated either side of mid-day service. The last test of the loop, Sleeping Warrior, is the day’s longest stage at 31.04 kilometres.
Press kit and Event pictures will be uploaded here
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