Thierry Neuville weathered a massive storm on Saturday in his Hyundai to retain pole position on Day 2 of the Safari Rally in Kenya, but looked over his shoulder as seven-time French world champion SÃ©bastien Ogier closed the gap to come third at 1 min 15 sec.
Neuville tamed the conditions by gaining his overall advantage over Japanese Toyota driver Takamoto Katsuta at 57 seconds, but it was Ogier who felt he had a good day’s work as he moved up to third. place after finishing seventh in the afternoon.
The morning passed quite peacefully after the chills and overflows on Friday saw Ogier, Elfyn Evans, Kalle Rovanpera and Dani Sordi endure a series of setbacks on a cutthroat pitch outside of Nairobi, hosting the WRC spectacle. back after a two-decade absence.
But the skies opened for a decidedly slippery Special 13, nicknamed “Sleeping Warrior”, near Lake Elmenteita, which saw Neuville and Ogier meet the challenge better than Ott Tanak.
The Estonian driver Hyundai conceded the third place he held overnight after having to stop mid-stage to repair his wipers as his windshield fogged up.
The dangerous conditions, coupled with his technical issues, saw Tanak drop to fourth place as he dropped two minutes to drop 65.7 seconds behind Ogier, who currently has an 11-point lead in the season standings over Evans.
Neuville, chasing a first victory of the season, has 22 points further.
Sunday, five additional specials over 50 km of timed sectors.
Â© 2021 AFP