Kalle Rovanpera wins Second Safari Rally Title

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Kalle Rovanpera wins Second Safari Rally Title

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Kalle Rovanpera won his  second World Rally  Championship (WRC) Safari Rally by clinching the 2024 edition of the event in Kenya

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Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Kalle Rovanpera won his  second World Rally  Championship (WRC) Safari Rally by clinching the 2024 edition of the event in Kenya, on Sunday, March 31st, 2024.

Rovanpera became a two-time winner of Safari Rally Kenya securing a dominant victory at the head of a 1-2 finish for Toyota Gazoo Racing.

Takamoto Katstuta completed a Toyota GR Yaris 1-2 as the Japanese marque extended its manufacturers’ championship lead to four points over Hyundai Motorsport, while M-Sport Ford Puma hotshot Adrien Fourmaux bagged his second consecutive podium, 47.3s behind.

Elfyn Evans has faced challenges since Friday, when he ended up in contention for a podium, but a fraught Saturday, which saw the Welshman stop twice to carry out stage-side wheel changes, meant he finished over four minutes back from his teammate Rovanpera in fourth overall. He remains second in the drivers’ championship behind leader Thierry Neuville, who trailed him by almost six minutes in fifth.

Rovanpera won with a 1m 37.8s victory margin, having led since Friday morning. It was Rovanpera’s 12th career victory.

Rovanpera built a lead of almost one minute after winning all of Friday’s rock-strewn stages around Lake Naivasha.

Thierry Neuville was Rovanpera’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.

Neuville dropped more than two-and-a-half minutes as he rectified the problem through the remaining two stages, which opened the door for Katsuta to reclaim the runner-up spot ahead of Fourmaux.

The drivers tackled Malewa, Oserengoni and Hell’s Gate stages on Sunday afternoon as the rally curtains came down in Naivasha.

“It’s always special to win here. Like they say in Africa: the car in front is always a Toyota,” Rovanpera said.

The WRC returns to asphalt for next month’s Croatia Rally which takes place from April 18 – 21. The event is based in the capital Zagreb.

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