26-06-2022 by redazione
Finland's Kalle Rovanpera has won the Safari Rally Kenya 2022.
With this claim, which is part of the World Rally Championship rounds, the current leader of the WRC Rally standings became the youngest driver to win the Safari Rally.
For the Finn, this is the fourth win out of six races so far in WRC 2022. He is the only driver to have won WRC events on three different surfaces: asphalt, snow and gravel.
Rovanperä dominated the difficult Kenyan rally between red soil and dust and led his Toyota to victory in one of the toughest rounds of the World Rally Championship and his team to the top four places in the competition. The other Toyota Yaris of Irishmen Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin placed second overall, while Japan's Takamoto Katsuta with navigator Aaron Johnston took bronze.
Italian-born Kenyan Carl Tundo, despite an infraction, was the first of his compatriots to finish the Safari Rally, finishing 13th overall in the main class driving his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo10.
He was followed in second place by Jasmeet Chana, also driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo10. Third place was taken by Nikhil Sachania, the only disabled driver in the Safari Rally. Sachania, finished with a commendable 16th place driving his specially prepared Mitsubishi Lancer.
The only woman to participate in Kenya's toughest event, Maxine Wahome, finished in 17th place driving a Ford Fiesta with Waigwa Murage.
Reigning Sportsman of the Year driver Aakhif Virani and his aviator Azfar Bhatti placed 18th in their Skoda Fabia.
Dramas continued to involve major WRC drivers, the latest involving Oliver Solberg, whose car stopped in the middle of the road in the Oserian section. The accident prompted organizers to cancel the stage. The drivers were routed to the next stage.
Gus Greensmith, who experienced some of the most dramatic incidents during the rally, said he was happy to be part of the great Safari Rally.
"We cannot compare Kenya's Safari Rally with races in the rest of the world," said Greensmith, "The people here are very welcoming and friendly. The stages are also challenging and fun, despite the incidents I had. I would definitely like to come back next year."
Greensmith and his navigator, Jonas Andersson, survived serious injuries after capsizing their Ford on one of the stages. The crew was forced out through the windshield after the car landed on its side. The defending champion, France's Sebastian Ogier, had to settle for winning the "Power Stage" special stage. Eighth place went to historic champion Sebastien Loeb.
The total mileage was 1223.77 km, of which 363 km was competitive. The competition was held in a total of 19 stages.
The longest stage was the so-called "Sleeping Warrior" stage of 31.04 km.
The final ranking of the top 10:
Kalle Rovenpera/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris)
Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris)
Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota Yaris)
Sébastien Ogier/Benjamin Veillas (Toyota Yaris)
Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai)
Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Ford)
Jourdan Serderidis/Frédéric Miclotte (Ford)
Sébastien Loeb/Isabelle Galmiche (Ford)
Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak (Skoda)
Oliver Solberg/Elliot Edmonson (Hyundai)
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