Thierry Neuville survives the chaos of the Safari

The Belgian ends up leading after a daunting first stage in which Dani Sordo left, despite suffering a double puncture in the final stage.


The return of the Safari Rally has exceeded expectations. A very tough test was expected and it is not disappointing at all. None of the top riders were out of trouble, and in the end it was Thierry Neuville who survived the chaos and finished leading despite suffering a double puncture in the final stage. The debacle has been total, and one of the main victims has been Dani Sordo, who abandoned a suspension arm after breaking a stone.

The harshness of Kenya's roads has left the sections of the African event strewn with affected people, which returns to the World Cup after two decades absent. After the super special in Nairobi, on the second day the caravan moved to Naivasha, with longer timed tests. And in them everything has happened. In the opening day Oliver Solberg broke the right rear suspension and dropped out.

But it was in the second, the longest of the weekend, in which Elfyn Evans fell first by breaking the steering with a stone, and then Sordo by breaking a suspension arm with another small rock that was in the middle of the road. Sebastien Ogier lost more than two minutes when breaking a shock absorber, and the fight centered between Neuville and Kalle Rovanpera. The Belgian saved the lead despite puncturing two wheels on the final stage, while the Finn retired after getting stuck in the soft sand.

Ott Tanak, who was in third place, gave up the position to Takamoto Katsuta when he also punctured on the final stage… and there are still two days to go! Sordo, Evans and Rovanpera will re-engage, and will return to the fight of this survival test that is being the Safari Rally.


1. Neuville-Wydaeghe (Bel / Hyundai), 1h 23: 19.1s2. Katsuta-Barritt (Jap / Toyota), at 18.83. Tanak-Jarveoja (Est / Hyundai), at 55.84. Ogier-Ingrassia (Fra / Toyota), at 1: 49.45. Greensmith-Patterson (Gbr / Ford), at 1: 56.1

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