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Safari Rally: Sebastien Ogier leads after Neuville retires

MOTORSPORT By Reuters | June 27th 2021
French Toyota driver Sebastien Ogier and Co-Driver Julien Ingrassia in action during Soysambu stage near Naivasha, Kenya. REUTERS

Toyota's world championship leader Sebastien Ogier was heading for victory in the Kenyan Safari Rally on Sunday after overnight leader Thierry Neuville hit a rock and retired his stricken Hyundai.

Belgian Neuville started the day with a 57.4 second advantage over Toyota's Japanese driver Takamoto Katsuta 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."

Neuville retires from competition after breaking rear-right damper [PHOTO COURTESY]

Hyundai's Ott Tanak had led in Sardinia and Portugal before crashing out of both.

Frenchman Ogier, who started the rally in East Africa with an 11 point lead over Welsh team mate Elfyn Evans after five of the 12 rounds, was leading Katsuta by 8.3 seconds with only the final Power Stage remaining.

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