Ott/Martin take third after retirement for leaders Thierry/Martijn
A third-placed finish for our Estonian crew Ott and Martin provided little consolation for our team in Safari Rally Kenya, after Thierry and Martijn retired from the lead on the final day.
Thierry, in only his sixth WRC event with new co-driver Martijn, had been on impressive pace throughout the weekend. They scored three stage wins on Friday in incredibly rough conditions, where survival was the primary objective on roads layered with sandy-dusty fesh-fesh.
Our Belgians added another stage win on Saturday’s opening test, while also expertly avoiding zebras and giraffes during the morning loop. Isolated rain showers turned the final stage into a lottery, but they ended the day with a lead of almost one minute.
Victory hopes dampened
Having controlled the rally, it was a devastating start to Sunday morning as the pair picked up a broken rear-right damper in the 11.33km Loldia stage. Despite getting the car to the finish – and retaining the rally lead – the damage was too great for the crew to continue.
“This is a big disappointment, not just for me but also for the whole team,” said Thierry. “I felt comfortable in the car, we were fast and controlling the speed throughout the event, so there are lots of positives to take away. The motivation is still there, but we will regroup, find solutions and come back stronger as a team.”
Ott and Martin completed the rally in style with a committed performance in the Power Stage, scoring five extra points to add to their podium. “On the one hand, it is good to be back on the podium and to take maximum Power Stage points, but this has been another difficult weekend for the team,” said Ott. “It is a shame for Thierry that it didn’t work out for him. It has been an impressive event, and enjoyable to do something different and unique.”
Dani and Borja retired on Friday after hitting a rock in the SS3 Kedong test. Their focus for the rest of the rally was to make it through safely and try to pick up points. “It has not really been a good weekend for us. We had our problem on the first day, and we lost all of our possibilities to fight for a strong result then,” said Dani. “We will work through this situation together and come back stronger.”
Our Team Principal Andrea Adamo offered his usual honest assessment of the rally: “We cannot be happy,” he said. “This is the third rally in a row in which we have had problems, so it cannot be considered bad luck. There are no excuses, it simply should not happen. We have to understand what is going on.”
As the WRC season reaches its halfway point, we are second in the manufacturers’ championship, 59 points from the leaders, with Estonia – Ott and Martin’s home event and where we finished 1-2 last year – taking place July 15-18.
Final Overall Classification – Safari Rally Kenya
1 S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia Toyota Yaris WRC 3:18:11.3
2 T. Katsuta / D. Barritt Toyota Yaris WRC +21.8
3 O. Tänak / M. Järveoja Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +1:09.5
4 A. Fourmaux / R. Jamoul Ford Fiesta WRC +1:44.7
5 G. Greensmith / C. Patterson Ford Fiesta WRC +1:54.6
6 K. Rovanperä / J. Halttunen Toyota Yaris WRC +10:53.4
7 O. Rai / D. Sturrock Volkswagen Polo GTI +29:26.4
8 K. Patel / T. Khan Ford Fiesta R5 +33:30.4
9 C. Tundo / T. Jessop Volkswagen Polo GTI +36:40.7
10 E. Evans / S. Martin Toyota Yaris WRC +49:22.7
2021 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings
After round 6
1 Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team 273
2 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team 214
3 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team 109
4 Hyundai 2C Competition 28
2021 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings
After round 6
1 S. Ogier 133
2 E. Evans 99
3 T. Neuville 77
4 O. Tänak 69
5 T. Katsuta 66
6 K. Rovanperä 56
7 A. Fourmaux 32
8 G. Greensmith 32
9 D. Sordo 31
10 C. Breen 24
All results remain subject to official FIA confirmation.