Kenya Rally: Rovanperä without rival in the absence of Ogier, Frenchman Fourmaux on the podium

Kenya Rally: Rovanperä without rival in the absence of Ogier, Frenchman Fourmaux on the podium

Le Français Adrien Fourmaux s’est classé troisième. MAXPPP – Manrico Martella

Le constructeur Toyota a dominé de la tête et des épaules.

The Finn Kalle Rovanperä (Toyota) dominated the Kenyan rally head and shoulders, which he won on Sunday ahead of another Toyota, that of the unexpected Japanese Takamoto Katsuta. "This test is so difficult ! But we have always been good here", said Rovanperä upon arrival, congratulating himself on having been spared the trouble.

This double confirms the domination of the Japanese manufacturer in this event, considered the most difficult on the World Rally Championship calendar. Since the return of the "Safari Rally" on its calendar in 2021, Toyota won all four editions, twice with Frenchman Sébastien Ogier (2021 and 2023) and twice with Rovanperä (2022 and 2024).

A la carte program

These two drivers are following an à la carte program this year, only participating in a few championship events. If this choice can be understood for the eight-time French world champion aged 40, it is more surprising for the 23-year-old Finn who chooses not to collect titles immediately.

After missing the Monte Carlo, the inaugural round of the championship, Rovanperä had to retire in Sweden. His victory in Kenya puts him back on the right trajectory and if he should be absent at the next Croatian rally in three weeks, Ogier will be there.

Hyundai out of business

The big loser of the Kenyan rally is again Hyundai. The South Korean manufacturer had won the first two rounds of the championship with the Belgian Thierry Neuville in Monte Carlo and the Finn Esapekka Lappi in Sweden but was again victim of the curse of the Safari Rally which struck him.

No Hyundai is on the podium like in 2022 and 2023. Lappi was forced to retire on Friday due to mechanical problems and Estonian Ott Tänak after going off the road the same day.

Neuville lost all chance when his fuel pump malfunctioned on Saturday. He therefore only ranks 5th, more than 10 minutes behind the winner. However, he retains the lead in the provisional ranking of the world championship thanks in particular to his victory in the "Power Stage" Sunday which brings additional points to the championship and which he won.

Frenchman Fourmaux on the podium

His closest pursuer, the Briton Elfyh Evans (Toyota), finished 4th in the rally. With the complex points calculation system introduced this season in the WRC, the Belgian now has 67 points to Evans' 61.

The setbacks of some benefited others and Frenchman Adrien Fourmaux (M-Sport/Ford) took the 3rd step of the podium. For the 28-year-old native of Séclin (North), this is another great performance after his 3rd place in Sweden and he is now in 3rd place in the championship with 46 points.

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