The 21-year-old leader of the championship, Rovanperä, took the lead in the Safari rally in Friday’s seventh stage after the defect of his teammate and defender of last year’s victory, Sébastien Ogier from France. The young Finn watched the leading position in the rest of the competition and defeated the nearest pursuer Elfyn Evans from Britain by 52.8 seconds.
Japanese Takamoto Kacuta finished third and Ogier was fourth with a gap of 2:10 minutes. Toyota drivers took first four places in the World Rally for the first time in twelve years.
The best of the rest of the starting field was Thierry Neuville. The Belgian driver Huyndai finished fifth after Saturday’s accident with a loss of almost eleven minutes, but remained in second place at the World Championships. The third is his teammate Ott Tänak from Estonia, who did not finish the Safari Rally.
Already on Friday, the only Czech participant, Martin Prokop, resigned with his Ford. Sébastien Loeb, the nine-time world champion and winner of this year’s inaugural Monte Carlo Rally, did not finish Friday’s stage due to a car fire and finished eighth after returning to the competition.
The seventh rally of the thirteen-part championship will take place in mid-July in Estonia.
|Safari rally Kenya, World Championship race in car competitions:|
|1. Rovanperä, Halttunen (Fin./Toyota Yaris) 03: 40: 24,9|
|2. Evans, Martin (Brit./Toyota Yaris) -52,8|
|3. Kacuta, Johnston (Jap., Ir./Toyota Yaris) -1: 42.7|
|4. Ogier, Veillas (Fr./Toyota Picnic) -2:10,3|
|5. Neuville, Wydaeghe (Belg./Hyundai i20) -10:40,9|
|6. Breen, Nagle (Ir./Ford Puma) -23:27,9.|
|World standings (after 6 of 13 races):|
|1. Rovanperä 145|
|2. Neuville 80|
|3. Today (Est./Hyundai I20) 62|
|4. Kacuta 62|
|5. Breen 60|
|6. Evans 57|
|23. Cais (Czech Republic / Ford Fiesta) 2.|
|1. Toyota 246|
|2. Hyundai 184|
|3. M-Sport Ford 144|
|4. Toyota NG 68|