Neuville weathers Kenyan storm as Ogier closes gap

·1-min read
Thierry Neuville steered his way through the stormy conditions to retain his Safari Rally lead as he chases a first season win

Thierry Neuville weathered a huge storm Saturday in his Hyundai to retain pole position on day two of the Safari Rally in Kenya but was looking over his shoulder as French seven-time world champ Sebastien Ogier closed the gap to stand third 1min 15 sec adrift.

Neuville mastered the conditions as he took his overall advantage over Toyota's Japanese driver Takamoto Katsuta to 57sec but it was Ogier who had cause to feel he had put in a good day's work as he moved into third having gone into the afternoon in seventh spot.

The morning passed off peacefully enough after Friday's thrills and spills had seen the likes of Ogier, Elfyn Evans, Kalle Rovanpera and Dani Sordi all endure a range of setbacks on unforgiving terrain outside Nairobi, welcoming the WRC show back after a two-decade absence.

But the heavens opened ahead for a decidedly slippery special stage 13, dubbed "Sleeping Warrior," near Lake Elmenteita, which saw Neuville and Ogier respond to the challenge better notably than Ott Tanak.

The Estonian Hyundai driver conceded the third place he had held overnight after having to stop mid-stage to fix his wipers as his windscreen misted over.

The treacherous conditions, coupled with his technical woes, saw Tanak drop down to fourth as he lost two minutes to fall 65.7sec behind Ogier, who currently has an 11-point lead in the season standings over Evans.

Neuville, chasing a first season win, is 22 points further back.

Sunday brings a further five special stages over 50 km of timed sections.

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