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Sat 25 Jun 2022

Kajto’s clean sweep earns huge WRC2 lead

Kajetan Kajetanowicz won all six speed tests in Saturday’s punishing second leg of Safari Rally Kenya to build a massive WRC2 lead of more than 20 minutes.

The Pole was unmatched on muddy and rock-strewn gravel tracks around Lake Elmenteita and the Škoda Fabia Rally2 driver measured his pace in the worst of the conditions as his rivals fell by the wayside.

Kajetanowicz began with a 1min 13.5sec advantage. That quickly ballooned as second-placed Sean Johnston incurred an 80sec penalty for leaving service late as his team prepared his Citroën C3 for the rigours of the day ahead.

His lead climbed to almost six minutes as fastest times in the morning’s three special stages distanced Johnston, who was struggling with sickness.

Another three wins on the afternoon’s repeated stages, made even more challenging by rain which turned the sandy surface into a mudbath, carried Kajetanowicz further clear and placed him ninth overall with one day remaining.

“Many traps and unexpected problems lay in wait at every corner,” he smiled. “We managed to avoid these issues but we have to stay cautious until the end, as the biggest challenge is probably the rally itself.”

Kajetanowicz’s task was eased when Johnston retired ahead of the final test. Brake problems for a second day slowed his pace before he exited, choosing to give his mechanics more time to work on engine issues before Sunday’s finale.

Johnston remains second, with more than five minutes in hand over Amaanraj Singh Rai. The Kenyan Fabia pilot enjoyed a great day to climb from sixth.

Leroy Gomes was almost 10min adrift in fourth, the Zimbabwean driver falling back in the final stage when his Ford Fiesta Rally2 stopped and failed to restart after a water crossing.

Aakif Varani was fifth in another Fabia, despite a broken driveshaft in the morning’s final stage ending the day prematurely. Karan Patel was the final survivor in sixth after losing more than 50min as the crew battled to fix a broken steering arm.

• Full coverage from Safari Rally Kenya will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park