On the first day, Ogier and Loeb showed themselves to their advantage. A favorable position on the track and recognized experience allowed Ogier to lead ahead of Katsuta (the 4th Toyota Yaris), Evans, Rovanperä. For Loeb, the end of SS4 spelled trouble for the Puma. Greensmith had already experienced a problem with a tire that burst and destroyed the rear of the Puma. 13 minutes lost on this ES4. For the Pumas, the problems are linked with Fourmaux who has a transmission problem in SS5 and loses 9 minutes. It will be the abandonment before the start of SS6. Breen, on another Puma, will also have to throw in the towel a little later. This start to the rally is not in favor of the M-Sport Ford Puma.
SS7, the last special of the day on Friday saw Ogier lose big. In the lead, he moved up to 2 minutes 08 after having had to change a wheel during the special. This Safari Rally is brittle. Rovanperä took the rally lead for 14 seconds and would not let go. Carefully he will increase his lead, stage after stage.
#WRC 🇰🇪 SS13
📍 Sleeping Warrior 2
🏁 31.04 km
🚦 Start times
— hmsgofficial (@HMSGOfficial) June 25, 2022
On Saturday, it’s Hyundai’s turn to experience a nightmarish day. Tänak stops during SS10 with an engine problem visibly. For Ford, it continues with Greensmith and Fourmaux who are mechanical. Solberg on the third Hyundai i20 is 6th, but already more than 8 minutes behind. All clench their teeth and know that they must resist and turn their backs. Neuville seems to be doing better than resisting and is even moving up the rankings. Before the 13th special, the last on Saturday, he is 3rd at 1 minute 02 behind Rovanperä. Patatras for Neuville, it’s an outing and the Hyundai that bites. He does not finish and takes 10 penalty minutes. For the general, he can forget.
This Sunday, there were 6 specials left and as many potential problems. SS14 sees a French hat-trick with Fourmaux and Coria who sign the scratch ahead of Loeb/Galmiche and Ogier/Veillas. In the second passage, SS17, the French did it again, with Loeb ahead of Fourmaux and Ogier. Loeb and Ogier will still be at ease, in SS16 but also the improved Power Stage. In the latter, Neuville made the best time (+5 points) ahead of Loeb, Ogier, Greensmith and Fourmaux. The Pumas finish better than they started.
— TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT (@TGR_WRC) June 26, 2022
In the end, Rovanperä wins ahead of Evans (52 seconds) and Katsuta who still signs a podium. Ogier finished at 2 minutes 10, in 4th place. Without the 2 minutes 21 lost in SS7, he could have played for the win. Neuville 5th is more than 10 minutes away. Incredibly smashing this Kenya rally.
Rovanperä’s performance is all the stronger as he led the way at the start of the rally as the championship leader. We also note the 16th place of Maxine Wahome, Kenyan female driver who won the WRC3 category. This is – alas – too rare and deserves to be highlighted.
|Pos||Car No||Driver||co-driver||Team / Coach|
|1||#69||K. ROVANPERÄ||J. HALTTUNEN||GR Yaris Rally1|
|2||#33||E. EVANS||S.MARTIN||GR Yaris Rally1|
|3||#18||T.KATSUTA||A. JOHNSTON||GR Yaris Rally1|
|4||#1||S.OGIER||B. VEILLAS||GR Yaris Rally1|
|5||#11||T.NEUVILLE||Mr WYDAEGHE||i20 N Rally1|
|6||#42||C. BREEN||P. NAGLE||Puma Rally1|
|7||#9||J. SERDERIDIS||F. MICLOTTE||Puma Rally1|
|8||#19||S. LOEB||I. GALMICHE||Puma Rally1|
|9||#20||K. KAJETANOWICZ||Mr SZCZEPANIAK||Fabia Evo|
|10||#2||O. SOLBERG||E. EDMONDSON||i20 N Rally1|
|11||#22||S. JOHNSTON||A. KIHURANI||C3|
|12||#27||A. SINGH RAI||G. SINGH PANESAR||Fabia Evo|
|13||#37||C.TUNDO||T.JESSOP||Launch Evo X|
|14||#16||A. FURNACES||A.CORIA||Puma Rally1|
Provisional World Drivers Ranking
4th victory of the 2022 season for Rovanperä. 65 points ahead of Neuville. 10 more than arriving in Kenya. Neuville on his side takes a little air on his best enemy, his teammate Tänak who finds himself tied with Katsuta, 4th Toyota driver. Evans scores big points, but with ups and downs this year, he is 88 points behind Rovanperä.
Provisional team world ranking
|1||TOYOTA GAZOO RACING WRT||246|
|2||HYUNDAI SHELL MOBIS WORLD RALLY TEAM||184|
|3||M-SPORT FORD WORLD RALLY TEAM||144|
|4||TOYOTA GAZOO RACING WRT NG||68|
One by one the competitors let go. One by one they backed down or gave up. Kale Rovanperä leads this troop of Yaris and increases its lead in the world ranking. Evans limits the damage but still has to give way to the young Finn.
Ogier had a better fate than Loeb in the “grandpa” fight with a 4th place against 8th for Loeb.