Rovanpera adds Safari Rally Kenya to WRC part-time programme

Toyota has today announced that Rovanpera will pilot one of the three factory Toyota GR Yaris entries at the famous gravel rally next month (28-31 March). Rovanpera will join full-time Toyota team-mates Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta.

Inclusion on the Kenya entry list means Rovanpera will compete in two consecutive WRC events. The Finn contested the first round of his partial WRC season at Rally Sweden last month where he led the rally before crashing out on stage four. The two-time world champion rejoined the event salvaging 11 points after finishing second in the Super Sunday classification in addition to a Power Stage win.

“We did a good job testing the car and we made it fast and for sure the car would have been fast enough to win the rally easily,” said Rovanpera in Sweden.

“I just couldn’t bring the weekend together but at least we had the chance. 

“When you are a competitor and you come only for the win and when it is not possible any more it is normal that the event is not so enjoyable.”

Rovanpera has already enjoyed success in Africa after leading home a Toyota 1-2-3-4 in 2022 on his way to a maiden world title.

This year the Safari Rally has moved from the June berth it held following its return to the WRC calendar in 2021, and will now occupy its historical Easter timing slot.

Kalle Rovanperä, Jonne Halttunen, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Kalle Rovanperä, Jonne Halttunen, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Photo by: Tomek Kaliński

Toyota has dominated the rally since it rejoined the WRC, winning all three editions. Last year eight-time world champion Sebastien Ogier beat Rovanpera to victory as the Japanese brand recorded a second consecutive 1-2-3-4 result. 

Rovanpera’s WRC schedule beyond Kenya is yet to be announced although it is thought to be likely that he will appear in Latvia and Finland rounds.

Elsewhere, Hyundai has told that its third factory entry will be piloted by Rally Sweden winner Esapekka Lappi.

Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville leads the championship standings by three points over Evans, with M-Sport’s Adrien Fourmaux in third. 

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