Ogier takes lead in Safari Rally, Thierry Neuville follows in second
Sébastien Ogier (Toyota Yaris Rally1) won the opening stage of the Safari Rally on Thursday afternoon, the sixth of a total of thirteen rallies counting towards the world championship. Ogier was 0.6 sec faster than Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20 N Rally1). Ott Tänak (Hyundai i20 N Rally1) followed in third at 1.1 sec. World Cup leader Kalle Rovanperä (Toyota Yaris Rally1) made a mistake in the first corner, had a puncture and lost 11.6 sec.
Just like last year, the opening stage of the Safari Rally was set out on a vast plain near the service park. They started side by side and each rider completed two laps, covering 4.84 km against the time. Sébastien Ogier took on Sébastien Loeb (Ford Puma Rally1) in his heat. Ogier was the fastest rider of the pack and was 1.8 sec faster than Sébastien Loeb who set the fifth fastest time.
Thierry Neuville started with the second fastest time. The Belgian took on Kalle Rovanperä who made a mistake in the first corner. The Finn braked a little too late after which his car just didn’t roll over. Rovanperä did have a flat tire and lost 11.6 sec. Neuville was pleased with his ride. “Today we started well but tomorrow will be a different story. It’s going to be a tough match. I don’t know what to expect.”
The Belgian resident Greek Jourdan Serderidis and his Belgian co-driver Frédéric Miclotte (Ford Puma Rally1) set the fourteenth time and were 17.1 seconds slower than Ogier.
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday there will be six classification stages.