Kalle Rovanperä charged to his fourth FIA World Rally Championship victory in six rounds at Safari Rally Kenya on Sunday as Toyota Gazoo Racing team locked out the top four places.
Only six of 12 WRC Rally1 cars completed the full rally distance in what proved to be the toughest event of the season by far.
President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulated all the drivers who competed in the rally, mentioning Kenyan Maxine Wahome who won her maiden WRC3 title.
President Uhuru lauded the World Rally Championship (WRC), terming it a great motor sporting event that positively impacted the country’s economy.
The President spoke on Sunday afternoon when he awarded winners of this year’s Safari Rally in Naivasha, Nakuru County.
Finnish Kalle Rovanperä overcame sickness, glue-like mud and rocky gravel tracks in the Great Rift Valley to win the legendary African fixture of the WRC Safari Rally by 52.8 seconds in a GR Yaris Rally1.
Rovanpera’s only blemish arrived on the Thursday’s opening Super Special stage in Nairobi when he almost rolled his GR Yaris, picking up a puncture in the process.
Victory at Safari Rally Kenya extended his lead in the drivers’ standings to 65 points. Elfyn Evans finished second, 49.9 seconds clear of Takamoto Katsuta, with Sébastien Ogier settling for fourth position.
The result was Katsuta’s first podium since finishing second at the event last year. It was Toyota’s first 1-2-3-4 since Kenya 1993 and the first in the WRC for 12 years.
Thierry Neuville won the Wolf Power Stage to claim five bonus points in an i20 N. Nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb scored four in second in a Ford Puma with Ogier taking three in third.
Gus Greensmith secured two points in fourth in another Puma with team-mate Adrien Fourmaux netting one.
Sardinia Rallywinner Ott Tanak ran as high as fourth before a transmission issue on Saturday and a power steering failure forced him out of the Safari Rally Kenya.
The best Kenyan was Amaan Singh Rai in position 12 while Maxine Wahome finished 15th.