Kalle Rovanperä wins the Kenya rally, quadruple for Toyota

Kalle Rovanperä won the Kenya Rally on Sunday, his first success in this event and his fourth in six rallies this season. The Finn, already the leader of the championship when he arrived in Africa, now has a 65-point advantage over Thierry Neuville (Hyundai), only fifth but winner of the Power Stage.

After a lost Sardinian rally (no car in the top 4), Toyota’s dominance was total this time around, as the leading quartet is made up solely of the GR Yaris Rally1. Four similar cars at the front, this had not been seen since Bulgaria in 2010 (with Citroën C4 WRC and a victory for Sébastien Loeb). Toyota had achieved this performance once in 1993, already in the Safari Rally, with Celica and Juha Kankkunen as winners.

The competition away from Toyota

Elfyn Evans, in contact with Rovanperä on Friday evening but dominated the rest of the rally, and Takamoto Katsuta, already 2nd last year here, complete the podium (the first from Germany in 2019 with a single mark), while Sébastien Ogier is in fourth place. . At a glance, the eight-time world champion, who on Friday lost all chances of victory with an unfortunate puncture, was already in this place in Bulgaria in 2010. He won four stages, only Rovanperä (5) improving the weekend.

Then you have to go back ten minutes to find a competitor who is not driving a Toyota. Unable to finish Saturday’s day with a car too damaged in the terrible conditions (after the rain) of Sleeping Warriors, Thierry Neuville “saved” a fifth position and the 5 points of the Power Stage. Despite all his efforts, the difference in the Championship continues to grow with Rovanperä before going to Estonia and Finland in the types of terrain that the latter has frequented for years despite his young age (21).

Three special victories for Loeb

For Hyundai, after the good performance in Sardinia, the conclusion is bitter: the i20 Rally1 is too fragile to expect to compete in such difficult terrain as Kenya. The test, Ott Tänak could not even finish the test (transmission on Saturday and power steering on Sunday) and Oliver Solberg regularly dragged his sentence at reduced speed. On Sunday he even had the first special of the day canceled after falling in the middle of the track, and only reached the end to contribute a few points to the Constructors ’Championship to the Korean brand.

At M-Sport Ford, it’s also a grimace soup with sixth place for Craig Breen, with a very low Puma on Saturday, and 8th for Sébastien Loeb. With the start of a fire in his car on Friday, the Frenchman quickly lost all hope of victory. He still finished the weekend with three stage victories, proving he had the speed to expect more, and added four points for M-Sport with his second place finish on the Power Stage.

His young teammates Adrien Fourmaux and Gus Greensmith have been marked by new avoidable mistakes. They finished very far in the overall and will especially remember spending time with their mechanics repairing their bikes on Saturday afternoon before returning to the track on Sunday for the honor.

Finally, highlight the seventh position of the Greek private driver Jourdan Serderidis with a Ford Puma Rally1 which, despite a pace far from the best, can show the satisfaction of not having used the “Super Rally” to complete this test. A performance that only got the four Toyotas and to a lesser extent Oliver Solberg (who lost several times his departure times to repair various breakages).

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