May 20, 2024

Flying Rovanpera extends WRC Safari Rally lead

Flying Rovanpera extends WRC Safari Rally lead
Courtesy of WRC

Despite dominating each stage on Friday, Rovanperä adopted a prudent approach on Saturday, maintaining his pace ahead of the pack across the demanding landscape near Lake Elementaita.

Kalle Rovanperä strengthened his position on Saturday at the WRC Safari Rally in Naivasha, edging closer to securing a second Safari Rally title.

While his competitors encountered numerous challenges navigating the rugged terrain, the reigning world champion exhibited cautious yet swift driving to extend his lead to an impressive 2 minutes and 8.2 seconds while his teammates Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta faced significant setbacks.

Despite dominating each stage on Friday, Rovanperä adopted a prudent approach on Saturday, maintaining his pace ahead of the pack across the demanding landscape near Lake Elementaita.

Rovanperä had secured a top-three lead overnight for his Toyota team, with Katsuta and Elfyn Evans in second and third positions, respectively. However, punctures to Katsuta and Evans on Saturday led to a loss of dominance, allowing Ford's Fourmax to climb into the top three.

By the conclusion of Saturday, Hyundai's Thierry Neuville posed the closest threat to Rovanperä. Yet, Neuville's challenge was short-lived as his Hyundai i20 N encountered a fuel system issue during the first stage at Soysambu in the afternoon.


Rovanperä's performance on Saturday is set to earn him 18 points provided he completes Sunday's stages, while Katsuta is poised to receive 15 points. Fourmaux, who finished 3 minutes and 13.3 seconds behind the leader, will secure 13 points.

"The lead is quite substantial now," stated the two-time world champion Rovanpera. “So, naturally, we approached it with caution. It's not particularly enjoyable when you have a significant lead, and in a stage like [Sleeping Warrior], you have to maneuver around every rock, which can be nerve-wracking. Tomorrow remains a challenging day, and we'll strive to finish the job.”

Positioned at 15th after day three, Carl Tundo and his co-driver Tim Jessop are the top-rated Kenyan participants in the race. Other Kenyan competitors include Karan Patel in 19th place, Aakif Virani in 20th, Minesh Rathod in 21st, and Hamza Anwar in 23rd.

The rally concludes on Sunday.