Toyota Gazoo Racing continues to dominate the Safari Rally after what has been a gruelling day of racing in Naivasha.
The Japanese manufacturer currently occupies the top three places after day two.
Sebastien Ogier continued to prove his mastery in Kenya sweeping four of the six stages on Friday. Even a hybrid glitch in stage four could not halt his dominance.
The eight-time world rally champion and 2021 Safari rally winner stands at 22.8 seconds ahead of teammate Kalle Rovampera heading into leg three.
“The hybrid incident is the only negative we had today. But everything else was moving smoothly for us. My feel was to keep clean and maintain the pace,” said Ogier.
The Frenchman intends to maintain the lead as he tackles the hardest day of the event on Saturday.
“Today was good but tomorrow is a big day here on Safari and it is still a long way to go. The lead is nice but definitely not much here,” he added.
Last year’s Safari rally winner Kalle Rovanpera is second and has a good feeling heading into Saturday’s challenge.
“It was not so bad day. I was hoping to be a bit more closer to the front at least but the first loop was quite slippery for us and we couldn’t do more. But we still drove well and didn’t lose much,” said Rovanpera.
“Tomorrow is definitely a big challenge. Two long stages and more challenging to the car and tyres. So we need to make a long day and anything can happen,” he added.
Elfyn Evans completed the top three; 43.5seconds down on the leader.
Hyundai’s Esapekka Lappi comes between the Toyotas in fourth followed by Takamoto Katsuta in another Toyota.
Friday’s leg was unforgiving for some. M-Sport Ford’s Ott Tanak and Lappi suffered punctures that dented their charge. However, it was Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville who did not survive the day with a suspension issue that forced his retirement in stage five.
WRC2 driver Oliver Solberg too ended what was a sublime race with a suspension issue in the last stage of the day. Grégoire Munster now leads the WRC2 category.
The home drivers could have a chance to break into the top ten. Carl Tundo currently sits thirteenth after day two with Aakif Virani and Karan Patel in 17th and 20th respectively.
Leg three will have six stages including the longest stage of the event; Sleeping Warrior 31.04km.