Esapekka Lappi retires from third place in Saturday’s Safari Rally

Esapekka Lappi retires from third place in Saturday's Safari Rally

Esapekka Lappi’s Hyundai experienced a suspected propshaft failure, forcing him to retire from the Safari Rally Kenya as he was runnng third in Saturday’s event.

Lappi had achieved a remarkable third place overall in his i20 N Rally1 during his first visit to Africa, but it all came to a sudden end on the opening stage of Saturday afternoon, Soysambu 2.

Lappi was already experiencing propshaft issues earlier in the weekend, stopping twice on the shakedown due to the problem, but it came back to inconvenience him on the rally as he immediately slowed down and parked on an access road when he noticed the issue.

Sébastien Ogier has widened the gap between himself and Toyota teammate Kalle Rovanperä. The reigning world champion managed to cut Ogier’s advantage over the course of the morning, losing the Soysambu stage but winning Elmenteita and Sleeping Warrior.

Ogier reestablished his dominance on the second pass of Soysambu, which marked the beginning of the afternoon loop, by winning the stage by 6.4s and increasing his lead to 28.5s.

However, after Lappi retired, it is now a Toyota 1-2-3-4. Elfyn Evans has moved up to third place again, but Takamoto Katsuta is only 2.8 seconds behind him overall.

Ott Tänak had to change his second flat tire of the Safari Rally Kenya weekend, but he didn’t lose any ground given the wide margins at the tail end of the top 10. The M-Sport driver advances one spot to sixth, but is currently nearly four minutes behind Dani Sordo.

The marshals almost tried to start Pierre-Louis Loubet a minute later than he was supposed to, which resulted in confusion. Meanwhile, privateer driver Jourdan Serderidis had considerable engine performance loss due to the same water splash that forced Evans to stop earlier in the day.

“After the splash no engine anymore, it stalled,” Serderidis said. “We restart but the engine has an issue.”

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