2021 WRC - Safari Rally Kenya - Sébastien Ogier, Takamoto Katsuta at the final Prize Giving, Naivasha (DPPI Media)

Sébastien Ogier snatched an now now not actually victory at Safari Rally Kenya on Sunday afternoon after longtime chief Thierry Neuville’s dreams were shattered alongside his automobile’s suspension.

When Neuville retired his Hyundai i20 in Sunday’s opening tempo take a look at after hitting a rock and smashing the beautiful rear damper, the Frenchman was completely placed to capitalise.

He demoted Toyota Yaris crew-mate Takamoto Katsuta in the penultimate stage to take the punishing four-day African traditional by 21.8sec on its return to the FIA World Rally Championship after a 19-year absence.

Ogier clawed his components up the show from seventh after struggling suspension troubles of his bear on Friday. His fourth take in six rounds prolonged the seven-time champion’s consequence in 34 parts on the season midpoint.

The Safari lived as a lot as its popularity as idea to be one of many area’s iconic motorsport events. Rocky and sandy gravel tracks around Lakes Naivasha and Elmenteita in the Big Rift Valley offered a brutal take a look at, while pleasing scenery, exotic wildlife and eager locals portrayed Africa at its most life like.

Neuville had led for all nonetheless two phases except his untimely demise, the third rally in succession that Hyundai had retired from the lead with suspension troubles.

Japan’s Katsuta maintained his fixed development to hiss his first WRC podium in 2d to seal Toyota Gazoo Racing’s fourth 1-2 results of the season, widening its manufacturers’ championship consequence in 59 parts.

With the exception of just a few engine stalls, Katsuta was exemplary during. He ended 47.7sec definite of Ott Tänak, who was closing in except a contaminated windscreen heater in Saturday’s closing rain-lashed stage forced him to stop and clear the misted glass with his hand.

M-Sport Ford twins Gus Greensmith and Adrien Fourmaux claimed fourth and fifth in their Fiestas. Their chance-free technique paid dividends and Frenchman Fourmaux eminent his maiden top-stage stage contend with Sunday morning. They were split by appropriate a tenth after Fourmaux got a post-rally 10sec penalty.

Kalle Rovanperä was almost 9 minutes adrift in sixth in his Yaris, after receiving a hefty time penalty when his automobile ground to a stop in deep sand on Friday and he retired.

FIA WRC3 chief Onkar Rai from Kenya was seventh, sooner than fellow support class and drivers Karan Patel and Carl Tundo for an all-Kenyan podium. Elfyn Evans scrambled a degree in 10th after parking his Yaris on Friday morning with broken suspension.

The championship returns to Europe when Rally Estonia (15 – 18 July) kicks-off the 2d half of the season.

Click here for the stout provisional results.

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