Adrien Fourmaux has won his first stage in the World Rally Championship – and M-Sport’s first of the 2021 season – but Takamoto Katsuta and Sébastien Ogier now share the overall lead of Safari Rally Kenya.
Katsuta held a 0.8-second lead over Ogier ahead of SS16, the single pass of Mawela. But neither were lighting up the timing screens as they chose to look after their Toyotas.
“This one honestly it was just survive and make it through,” said Ogier. “Tried to save the car on that one.”
Katsuta countered: “I had to be careful to not get damage in the car.”
However, Ogier was 0.8s less careful as he moved dead level with Katsuta at the top of the leaderboard with just two stages remaining.
By winning his first stage, Fourmaux has taken fourth place by 2.3s ahead of team-mate Gus Greensmith, outpacing him by 8.2s.
Fourmaux declared himself “happy about my stage” while Greensmith lamented the rough conditions.
“Can’t afford to let off at the moment,” he said. “Tried to keep it clean but some of the compressions they throw you out the line.”
Ott Tänak is only 27.7s up the road from Fourmaux in third but realistically is under no threat for position. He dropped 4.1s to the Fiesta WRC on SS16 but wasn’t pushing to his maximum.
Kalle Rovanperä took things incredibly steady in his lonely sixth overall as he bids to salvage some bonus points from the end-of-event powerstage.
Elfyn Evans meanwhile has worked his way back inside the overall top 10, outpacing Lorenzo Bertelli’s privately-run Ford Fiesta WRC by 7.7s on Malewa to steal the position by 0.7s.
He trails the WRC3 podium, which is headed by Onkar Rai in seventh overall ahead of Karan Patel and Carl Tundo.
Toyota’s Elfyn Evans moved back into the points positions by 0.7s ahead of Lorenzo Bertelli.
1 Adrien Fourmaux/Renaud Jamoul (M-Sport Ford) 7m01.1s
2 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai) +4.1s
3 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota) +7.2s
4 Takamoto Katsuta/Daniel Barritt (Toyota) +8.0s
5 Gus Greensmith/Chris Patterson (M-Sport Ford) +8.2s
6 Dani Sordo/Borja Rozada (Hyundai) +15.8s
Leading positions after SS16
1 Katsuta/Barritt 3h04m21.4s
2 Ogier/Ingrassia +0.0s
3 Tänak/Järveoja +1m09.4s
4 Fourmaux/Jamoul +1m37.1s
5 Greensmith/Patterson +1m39.4s
6 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota) +10m39.2s
7 Onkar Rai/Drew Sturrock (Volkswagen) +27m33.9s
8 Karan Patel/Tauseef Khan (Ford) +31m05.8s
9 Carl Tundo/Timothy Jessop (Volkswagen) +34m42.4s
10 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota) +49m17.0s