Home Sports Rally Rovanperä inches closer to Safari win

Rovanperä inches closer to Safari win

Toyota’s Kalle Rovanperä inched closer to clinching his second Safari Rally Kenya victory, winning one of the six stages on Saturday which no doubt leaves him as an overnight leader for 2 nd day running.

Despite many drivers at the 3rd round of the 2024 WRC championship encountering challenges Rovanperä was among the few lucky drivers who enjoyed a clean run.

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“It was quite clear plan to have a cute gap, let’s say. And then again, the guys behind had some trouble. The gap was quite big. So then the plan was just to keep it steady, let’s say, try to avoid all the problems. And we did that. Well, 18 points collected today provisionally going by the new rules. Super Sunday. Is there? What is your plan for that? We haven’t decided it. I need to speak with them, but probably will go quite easy and try to bring home the win. Well, expected conditions because looks like the weatherman. Everything is going sideways. No rain. That’s it.” said Rovanpera

The defending champion has extended his lead to 2 minutes 8.2 seconds as his competitors including Thierry Neuville, Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta faced major challenges on the tough terrains of Soysambu, Elementaita and Sleeping Warrior.

“So that’s good. We’ve already so you’ve secured yourself 15 points so far for Saturday. Super Sunday is coming. What’s the plan for it or maximum 12 available for it? Yeah, for sure like Sunday is still going on and everybody, especially who already lost a lot of time, everybody wants to take the point. So it’s gonna be quite tight, quite difficult to take the point from them. But still we need to focus that where we are now. And second position is. It’s a very good point position and we need to bring to the end for sure. This is one of the biggest job for me. So I just focus my job for tomorrow as well.”Takamoto said

Thierry Neuville emerged as Rovanperä’s closest threat, but his challenge was short-lived after his Hyundai i20 N encountered a fuel system issue during the afternoon’s first stage at Soysambu.

Despite developing several challenges Neuville remains optimistic in on the last day of the Safari competition targeting good points.

Neuville Said “Yeah. I’m obviously technical issue, which we couldn’t solve. So we lost a lot of time and important points in the fight for the championship. But nothing we could do except continue fighting. And that’s what we’re gonna do tomorrow as well to take some extra points and go home with hopefully good enough points for the championship. I think we weren’t quick enough to solve the problem. We didn’t know what was the problem, actually. And the team couldn’t really support us on there. So where to end the loop like this, it went a bit wet on the last stage due to a different stage mode. We were running. But at the end, too much time lost and important points lost in the fight for the championship. Yeah, there are 12 points to take, and we’re gonna try to take the most of them. Won’t be an easy day, and lots of people will be pushing tomorrow. But after that problem, we have no choice.”

Rovanperä’s Saturday standing will earn him 18 points provided he completes Sunday’s stages while his team mate Katsuta is on 15 while Ford’s Adrien Fourmaux, who has a 3m 13.3s behind the leader has 13 points.

Carl Tundo remains the best local driver in 15th position.

Sunday action will see drivers navigate through Malewa, Oserengoni, and Hells Gate in the morning loop before the afternoon loop, with a cumulative distance of 74km.

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