Toyota Gazoo Racing roars to fourth successive Safari triumph

2 April 2024

Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team have won the Safari Rally Kenya for the fourth year in a row, with Kalle Rovanperä leading Takamoto Katsuta in a one-two finish.

The team continue their unbeaten run on the toughest round of the FIA World Rally Championship since its return to the calendar in 2021, while also extending Toyota’s record Safari victory tally to 12.

The result again demonstrates the strength and reliability of the GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid, which for this event featured updated suspension and a distinctive snorkel system: a modern take on an classic feature of Safari-specification cars of the past.

It is the second time that Rovanperä and co-driver Jonne Halttunen have won the event, adding to their 2022 success. Their victory was built on a phenomenal performance on the first full day of the rally on Friday, when they were fastest in all six stages and opened up a lead of almost one minute. This enabled Rovanperä to take caution where required on the longest and toughest day on Saturday – although he still won the rally’s longest stage by nearly 25 seconds as most of his competitors hit trouble.

With his lead up above two minutes, Rovanperä could take a safety-first approach through much of the final day’s six stages and 46 competitive miles, ultimately sealing victory by 1m 37.8 seconds.

Katsuta achieved his third podium result from four starts in Kenya, repeating his second-place finish from 2021. He and co-driver Aaron Johnston drove a well-measured rally, with two stage wins on Saturday helping them overcome a double puncture that had cost them more than a minute.

Elfyn Evans and co-driver Scott Martin ensured that all three Toyotas finished inside the top four. They ran as high as second before sustaining punctures on three separate occasions through Saturday’s rough and rocky stages. That left the podium places out of their reach, but they still gave their all to score as many points as possible on Sunday, when they were third-fastest over the day and fifth in the Power Stage.

With its one-two finish, TGR-WRT took the maximum manufacturers’ points from the overall classification plus an extra 11 bonus points on Sunday to move into a four-point lead in the championship. Evans took 16 points from his weekend to keep him second in the drivers’ standings, six from the lead.

Team quotes
Akio Toyoda (TGR-WRT Chairman): “For all the team members, congratulations on the first victory this season and on winning Safari Rally Kenya for the fourth year in a row. Kalle, Jonne, congratulations on another victory in Kenya after two years, and thank you for the clever driving and running through those rough roads without trouble. 

“Takamoto and Aaron, congratulations on returning to the podium in Kenya also after two years. It was great that you completed all those stages.

“The pre-event test just before Kenya took place in Portugal and it was raining heavily at the time. The team reported to me that they had heavy rain “luckily” and many parts were broken. Unlike in previous years, the rally was held during the rainy season, and the engineers and mechanics continued to make improvements including the countermeasures for rain until just before the rally started. When I heard the word ‘luckily’, I recalled the words from GR Yaris engineers. They always tell me, one of the master drivers in Toyota, ‘thank you for breaking the car as it will become even stronger’. So this time, on behalf of the team, I want to thank the rain in Portugal for making the GR Yaris Rally1 stronger and brought us the first win. And, of course, I would like to thank all the team members who improved the car until the very last minute. The same road can be a different road in different seasons and weather, and because we compete on such roads and in such conditions, cars become stronger and our ever-better car making progresses. I believe rallying is that kind of sport. 

“The next events will be happening with two-week intervals. I am hoping that everyone in the team will take care of their health and continue to make ever-better cars.”

Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal): “We are very happy to win the Safari Rally again and take our first win of the season in such style here in Kenya. Kalle dominated the rally from the beginning with a very clever approach. He didn’t have any issues the whole weekend, thanks to the team which provided such a good car, and the way he was able to drive, thinking about when to attack and when to save the car. We’re also happy to see Taka on the podium in second place. This seems to be a rally that he loves, and after the disappointment he had in Sweden, this is a good result for him and the team. Luck was not on Elfyn’s side, but he was fighting hard and well to take as many points as he could for the championship. For now, we will enjoy this moment and then work towards the next challenge in Croatia.”

Kalle Rovanperä (driver car 69): “It’s special to be able to win the Safari for the second time. This event is so tough and it’s also a legendary one for Toyota. We have always been good here and we are continuing that record. As they say in Africa, the car in front is always a Toyota. A big thanks to the team, because everybody made a big effort to make the car work so well. I think we did a good job. I don’t think anyone could have done a better rally than we did, with no issues and clever driving. Today was difficult, having to drive the roughest stage on the calendar twice when you have a huge lead, trying to avoid everything. We just needed to stick to the plan and it worked out.”

Elfyn Evans (driver car 33) “It’s not been an easy weekend for us. At least we reached the end of the rally, which is a positive thing, but we wanted more. Today we had good speed at points but there were just a few little issues so we didn’t get as many points as we’d like. The first loop was not easy: the opening stage was extremely rough and we were probably too conservative there. In the Power Stage we gave it a go but already in the first half it was very difficult.”

Takamoto Katsuta (driver car 18): “It’s a very nice feeling to achieve this second place and to be on the podium again in Kenya. It was a tough rally like always, so we need to say a huge thanks to the team because they prepared very well and the car was working so well. I made some mistakes yesterday and we got the punctures, but I could always trust the car. When we needed to push, we were able to push and the times were good. Reliability is a strong point for Toyota and I’m very proud to drive this car.”

Final classification Safari Rally Kenya 

1 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) 3h36m04.0s
2 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +1m37.8s
3 Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (Ford Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +2m25.1s
4 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +4m20.2s
5 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +10m.17.5s
6 Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +18m05.4s
7 Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +19m28.5s
8 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +21m02.0s
9 Jourdan Serderidis/Fréderic Miclotte (Ford Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +26m13.3s
10 Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +26m34.4s
(Results as of 15:30 on Sunday, for the latest results please visit

2024 FIA World Rally Championship for drivers after round 3: 
1 Thierry Neuville 67 points
2 Elfyn Evans 61
3 Adrien Fourmaux 46
4 Ott Tänak 33
5 Kalle Rovanperä 31
6 Takamoto Katsuta 30
7 Sébastien Ogier 24
8 Esapekka Lappi 23
9 Oliver Solberg 12
10 Andreas Mikkelsen 6

2024 FIA World Rally Championship for manufacturers after round 3: 
1 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team 131 points
2 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team 127
3 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team 72

What’s next? 
The Croatia Rally (18-21 April) is held on challenging asphalt roads around the country’s capital city, Zagreb. As well as a mix of fast and more technical sections, the stages feature constant surface and grip changes.


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Toyota Gazoo Racing roars to fourth successive Safari triumph


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