Rallying-Ogier wins in Kenya after Neuville retires

·1-min read
Rallying - World Rally Championship - Safari Rally Kenya

(Reuters) -Toyota's Sebastien Ogier won the Kenyan Safari Rally and stretched his world championship lead to 34 points on Sunday after overnight leader Thierry Neuville hit a rock and retired his stricken Hyundai.

The Frenchman finished 21.8 seconds clear of Japanese team mate Takamoto Katsuta, who celebrated the first WRC podium of his career.

Hyundai's Ott Tanak was third and also took five bonus points from the final Power Stage. Ogier was fourth in that for two extra points.

The East African rally, using tracks around Lakes Naivasha and Elmenteita in the Great Rift Valley, was making its return to the championship after an 18-year absence.

Belgian Neuville started Sunday with a 57.4-second advantage over Katsuta, with Ogier third, but his hopes ended when he suffered suspension damage halfway through the day's first 11.33km stage.

Neuville made it to the end of the stage before pulling out.

"Very hard luck for us but also for all the team," he said. "Three tough rally weekends in a row and nobody deserved that.

"We would have deserved three victories in the last three events but unfortunately we didn't."

Tanak had led in Sardinia and Portugal before crashing out of both.

Ogier, who started the rally in East Africa with an 11-point lead over Elfyn Evans and had been only seventh at the end of Friday's first leg, now has 133 points to his Welsh team mate's 99 after six of the 12 rounds.

The next rally is in Estonia, a home round for Tanak, from July 15-18.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by Toby Chopra and Clare Fallon)

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting