Toyota 1-2-3 Streak Broken As Kalle Rovanpera Wins 2024 WRC Safari Rally

His teammate, Takamoto Katsuta finished second with Ford M Sport's Adrien Formaux finished 3rd with, breaking Toyota's 1-2-3 podium winning streak for the first time since 2022.

Toyota 1-2-3 Streak Broken As Kalle Rovanpera Wins 2024 WRC Safari Rally
Toyota's Kalle Rovanpera in action during the 2024 Safari Rally on March 31, 2024. /KALLE ROVANPERA

Finnish rally driver Kalle Rovanperä is the winner of the 2024 World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally.

Rovanpera claimed his second Safari Rally title, having won the 2022 Safari Rally by 6.7 seconds. The reigning WRC champion, alongside his co-driver Jonne Halttunen, tackled all 19 stages of the rally with

"It's always special; this event is incredibly tough. It holds legendary status for Toyota, as we've consistently performed well here.

"As they say in Africa, the leading car is always a Toyota! We executed our plan well, drove smart, and I'm deeply grateful to the team for their unwavering support," he told the media moments after clinching the win.

2024 WRC Safari Rally winner, Kalle Rovanpera. /KALLE ROVANPERA

His teammate, Takamoto Katsuta finished second with Ford M Sport's Adrien Fourmaux finished 3rd with, breaking Toyota's 1-2-3 podium winning streak for the first time since 2022.

"I'm absolutely thrilled. My sincere congratulations to the team for ensuring flawless car performance throughout the event. This podium is a testament to their hard work," Fourmaux appreciated his team for the flawless performance put in the rally.

Toyota's Elfyn Evans finished fourth with while Hyundai's lead driver, Thierry Neuville completed the top five with

Rovanpera was fast and faultless through Kenya’s 19 stages, which are renowned as the toughest on the WRC calendar.

The 2022 Kenya winner judged the rough gravel conditions to perfection, ending the rally as the only Rally1 driver to complete the event without suffering any major delays.

Following his success, Rovanpera has added 20 points to his tally for the season, bringing his total to 31 points and elevating him to fifth place in the standings.

The Defining Moment

The Finn’s victory was set up by a perfect Friday where Rovanpera won all six tests to open up a 56.9s lead.

His advantage increased to more than two minutes after a chaotic Saturday as each of his rivals battled through accidents, punctures or mechanical issues.

After banking 18 points for his efforts on Saturday, this afforded Rovanpera the ability to cruise through Sunday’s six stages to seal a 12th career WRC victory in one of the driest Safari Rallys in recent memory. The success was Toyota’s first of the season.

Like Rovanpera, Katsuta adopted a cautious approach knowing the attritional nature of Kenya’s roads. The Japanese driver ended Friday in third overall before his progress was halted by front and rear-right punctures picked up in the Sleeping Warrior stage on Saturday morning.

However, issues for rivals Neuville and Evans meant he climbed to second where he would remain at the finish despite suffering a puncture in Sunday’s stage 14. The result equalled his best career WRC finish achieved in Kenya in 2021.

M-Sport’s Fourmaux also matched his best WRC result, recorded in Sweden, courtesy of a smart and trouble-free drive.

The Frenchman benefitted from rivals hitting trouble but delivered an impressive performance, the only issue being a front-left puncture on stage 14.

Back-to-back podiums and fourth on Sunday maintained his position in third in the championship. Accumulating 17 points over the weekend, Fourmaux has now amassed 46 points for the season with nine more rallies remaining.

His resurgence is likely to pose a threat to the Toyota duo of Rovanpera and Evans as the season progresses.

Title contender Evans brought his Toyota GR Yaris home in fourth [+4m20.2s] after an eventful four days. The Welshman was firmly in the podium fight before four punctures on Saturday pushed him down to fourth earning him 10 points.

Evans pushed hard on Sunday but could only finish third in the Super Sunday classification, securing five bonus points on top of another one clinched in the Power Stage.

Neuville finished fifth [+10m17.5s] after enduring a challenging rally impacted by punctures and reliability issues.

A Hyundai i20N driven by WRC driver Thierry Neuville damaged during the Safari Rally on March 29, 2024 (left) and Neuville in action (right). /PHOTO.WRC

A puncture on stage three threatened his Safari Rally campaign before he climbed back to second when Evans and Katsuta suffered tyre failures. The Belgian soon plummeted back down to fifth at the end of Saturday after losing more than 10 minutes to a fuel system issue in his i20 N. 

Neuville fought back on Sunday, despite damaging his right-rear suspension on a rock in stage 16, to finish second in the Super Sunday standings and take six points on top of the eight earned at the end of Saturday.

A Power Stage win meant he extended his championship lead over Evans to six points.