Commanding stage win extends Rovanperä’s Safari lead

Kalle Rovanperä has a comfortable Safari Rally Kenya lead but scored a dominant stage win on Narasha regardless


Kalle Rovanperä has upped his lead of Safari Rally Kenya to 47.6 seconds over Elfyn Evans after a crushing performance on Sunday’s first completed stage.

The drivers had picked out the Narasha stage as being the toughest of the day, but it was the first one that ran on Sunday morning following the cancelation of the preceding Oserian test.

All four Toyotas of Rovanperä, Evans, Takamoto Katsuta and Sébastien Ogier – who were the only Rally1 crews to not set a competitive time – were handed the same stage time as Thierry Neuville for SS14, meaning Adrien Fourmaux has officially won his second stage in the World Rally Championship.

Oliver Solberg, who caused the cancelation when his Hyundai stopped in the middle of the road and he had to change an air filter, was given a time 14 minutes slower than fastest, meaning he drops from sixth to eighth.

Oliver Solberg

Rovanperä was some 7.3s quicker than Evans who was second fastest on SS15 to extend his gap to third-placed Katsuta to nearly a minute.

Katsuta had suffered a minor drama between the first two Sunday morning stages as his gearbox had begun to leak oil. But a quick roadside fix seemed to remedy the problem, as he was seventh-fastest, 17s off the pace, with no sign of trouble.

Neuville was third fastest on the stage, 1.3s down on Evans, to keep his hold of fifth place behind Sébastien Ogier, who in fourth place is on to secure Toyota its first 1-2-3-4 finish since the very same event 29 years ago.

Craig Breen’s ultra-cautious approach has him in sixth place overall.