Nasser rolls as Rovanpera wins Safari rally

Beating the dirt. Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT's driver Kalle Rovanpera steers his Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid with o-driver Jonne Halttunen during the WRC Kenya Safari Rally. 

What you need to know:

Nasser and his co-driver Ali Katumba rolled their Ford Fiesta in the Kedong stage to leave many of the travelling Ugandan fans disappointed.

Ugandan rally driver Yasin Nasser rolled his car on Day One of the Kenya Safari Rally as double world champion Kalle Rovanpera won comfortably.

Nasser and his co-driver Ali Katumba rolled their Ford Fiesta in the Kedong stage to leave many of the travelling Ugandan fans disappointed.

“It was a very unpleasant scene for us. It took Ali and I some minutes to understand how exactly the car rolled,” said Nasser.

“But later, we realised it wasn’t our making. In that specific spot we rolled, there was a lot of soft soil and the surface had gone deep from the impact of the cars. So it created some kind of a deep hole.”

“We didn’t anticipate anything like that and we followed our notes. And it’s that dip that threw us away,” he explained.

The World Rally Championship (WRC) event saw Finland’s Rovanpera avoid any late trouble to wrap up a comfortable win.

Endorsement. President of Kenya William Ruto (4th R) joins the top three teams on the podium at the prize-giving ceremony of the WRC Kenya Safari Rally on Sunday in Naivasha, Kenya. Cabinet secretary James Nwamwamba (3rd L) joined the photo. PHOTOS/BONIFACE MWANGI

The 23-year-old Toyota driver had stamped his authority on the punishing third rally of the season from the start.

Cleaning up in all six stages around Lake Naivasha on Friday allowed Rovanpera to take his foot off the gas over the weekend and coast to a second success in the event.

He led home a Toyota 1-2 with teammate Takamoto Katsuta second at 1min 38sec. Ford's Adrien Fourmaux completed the podium in Nairobi.

"It’s always special to win here," Rovanpera, who failed to finish in Sweden last time out, said.

"Also, a legendary event for Toyota. We've always been so good here and that's continuing. Like they say in Africa: the car in front is always a Toyota!" he added.

Hyundai's Thierry Neuville had a taxing time with mechanical issues but sealed the closing power stage and its extra five points.

A businessman prepares meat for the many fans who showed up in Naivasha

The Belgian maintained his lead in the world championship over Toyota's Elfyn Evans, fourth in Kenya.

Rovanpera, who is only competing part-time this campaign to recharge his batteries for a return full-time in 2025, is placed fifth.

He is expected to sit out the fourth rally of the season in Croatia from April 18-21.

Kenya Safari Rally


1. Kalle Rovanpera/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota)

2. Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota)

3. Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (M-Sport Ford)

4. Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota)

5. Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai)

World championship standings

1. Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Belgium) 67 points

2. Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Great Britain) 61

3. Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (France) 46

4. Ott Tanak/Martin Järveoja (Estonia) 33

5. Kalle Rovanpera/Jonne Halttunen (Finland) 31


1. Toyota 131 points

2. Hyundai 127

3. M-Sport/Ford 72