Buckle up for Rovanperä to snatch that Safari Rally victory!

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World champion Kalle Rovanperä from Finland is closing in on his second World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally victory after dominating the penultimate day of this year's event on Saturday in Naivasha, northwest of Nairobi, reported Xinhua.

The 2022 winner was one of the few top drivers to enjoy a clean run on Saturday's six (SS8-SS13) stages, extending his lead at the top to two minutes and 8.2 seconds over his closest challengers on a day when contrasting wet and dry conditions reigned havoc on the field.

Japanese ace and fellow Toyota GR Yaris teammate, Takamoto Katsuta is Rovanperä's closest challenger with Ford Puma M-Sport Frenchman, Adrien Fourmaux a further three minutes and 13 seconds adrift of the leader in third.

"The lead is now quite good, so of course we took it carefully. It's not so enjoyable when you have a big lead and on a stage like [Sleeping Warrior] you just go around every rock, it's scary. Tomorrow is still a tough day and we will try to finish the job," the 23-year-old Rovanperä, two-time world champion, told WRC.com after his run.

After blitzing through every stage on Friday, Rovanperä eased off the gas in a more measured approach as mayhem broke all around him on the roads near Lake Elementaita.

Behind him, Welshman Elfyn Evans and Katsuta completed the Toyota Yaris front three but the pair fell off the podium places after sustaining punctures in the morning three stages.

That allowed WRC championship leader, Belgium's Thierry Neuville, to move up to second but his Hyundai i20 N machine suffered issues with its fuel system in the final stage in the afternoon that saw him drop down to fifth on the leaderboard, over 11 minutes and 48 seconds behind Rovanperä.

Evans recovered to finish fourth with WRC 2 (second tier) leader Gus Greensmith and his biggest rival Oliver Solberg rounding off the top seven.

Carl Tundo in a WRC 2 Ford Fiesta is the best-placed Kenyan still in the running in 15th place, over 55 minutes behind the overnight leader.

Karan Patel (19), Aakif Virani (20), Minesh Rathod (21) and Hamza Anwar (23) are the other local drivers still in the running in the grueling event widely regarded as the toughest rally in the world.

So far, six of the 29 official starters have retired, including WRC 1 stars, 2019 world champion, Ott Tanak and his Hyundai i20N teammate and last month's WRC Rally Sweden winner, Esapekka Lappi.

The Safari concludes on Sunday with three more stages.

Source: www.dailyfinland.fi

14 Comments
  1. EmmaSmith_85 says

    Could you elaborate on how the contrasting wet and dry conditions affected the performance of the drivers during the penultimate day of the Safari Rally?

    1. KevinJohnson_77 says

      During the penultimate day of the Safari Rally, the contrasting wet and dry conditions posed a significant challenge to the drivers. The varying conditions meant that the drivers had to constantly adjust their driving styles and techniques to adapt to the changing grip levels and terrain, making it more demanding to find the optimal pace and control on the stages. The wet sections increased the risk of aquaplaning and reduced traction, requiring cautious driving to avoid mistakes, while the dry sections allowed for more aggressive and confident driving. Overall, the unpredictable conditions tested the skills and decision-making abilities of the drivers, adding an extra layer of complexity to an already grueling competition.

  2. KristaJohnson83 says

    As a rally enthusiast, I’m thrilled to see Kalle Rovanperä dominating the Safari Rally again! His skill and determination are truly impressive. Can’t wait to see him secure his second victory!

  3. Emily_Smith says

    Do you think Rovanperä will be able to maintain his lead and secure the Safari Rally win, or could there be a surprise comeback from one of his challengers?

    1. TomJohnson says

      I believe Rovanperä has shown great consistency and skill throughout the rally, so I think he has a strong chance of maintaining his lead and securing the Safari Rally win. However, in rallying, anything can happen, and we might see a surprise comeback from one of his challengers if they push hard enough. It’s definitely going to be an exciting final day of racing!

  4. Evelyn_Smith says

    Is Rovanperä really going to secure the Safari Rally win? How do you think the competition will unfold on the final day?

    1. LucasBrown says

      Yes, Rovanperä is in a strong position to clinch the Safari Rally victory with a significant lead over his rivals. It will be interesting to see how the competition unfolds on the final day, but his cautious approach and skillful driving give him a good chance to secure the win!

  5. Katie_1988 says

    It’s amazing to see Rovanperä dominate the Safari Rally! His lead is impressive, and he’s definitely showing his skills out there on the track. Looking forward to him securing that win!

  6. KateSmith says

    As a rally enthusiast, I believe Kalle Rovanperä is demonstrating exceptional skills and resilience in the Safari Rally. His lead is impressive, and his determination is commendable. Looking forward to seeing him clinch the victory!

  7. KateSmith123 says

    Do you think Rovanperä will be able to maintain his lead and secure the Safari Rally victory?

    1. JohnDoe456 says

      Sure looks like Rovanperä is in a strong position to seal the Safari Rally victory. With the lead he has built up and his consistent performance, it’s highly likely he will maintain his lead and clinch the win. Let’s see how it unfolds on the final day!

  8. EmmaRallyFan says

    As a huge fan of rally racing, I am thrilled to see Rovanperä dominating the Safari Rally! His skill and determination are truly impressive, and I am confident he will clinch another victory. Go, Rovanperä!

  9. KateJohnson_85 says

    As an avid rally fan, it’s thrilling to see Rovanperä dominating the Safari Rally! His skills and precision on the track are truly remarkable. Can’t wait to see if he secures the victory tomorrow!

  10. KateJohnson123 says

    As a motorsport enthusiast, I believe Rovanperä’s exceptional skills and determination will secure him the Safari Rally victory once again. The way he navigated through the challenging conditions with precision truly sets him apart as a top contender in the World Rally Championship. Looking forward to seeing him cross the finish line in triumph!

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