Andrea Navarra and the Abarth team have won the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) classification of the Safari Rally after a heart-stopping final day that saw them survive a puncture and a gearbox failure.

The Abarth team changed the gearbox at the final service in a record 14 minutes, enabling Navarra and co-driver Guido D'Amore to make it to the finish with no further problems. The pair crossed the finish ramp in the centre of Nairobi to a champagne reception in front of an enthusiastic local crowd.

"We came here to win and I'm relieved that we've been able to do that despite a few adventures along the way," said Navarra. "The entire team did a fantastic job to keep us going and I'd like to thank everyone who made this possible.

“I'm not sure if Safari will turn out to be the most difficult event of the year for us, but it was certainly the most unknown one, so we can approach the rest of the year with confidence."

In second place amongst the IRC runners was Japanese driver Hideaki Miyoshi, co-driven by Hakaru Ichino, who battled with punctures to get to the finish in his Mitsubishi Lancer. Third place was characterised by a massive battle between local drivers Asad Anwar and Sammy Aslam. Anwar eventually sealed the final podium spot by just eight seconds!

The result means that Mitsubishi has a four-point advantage over Abarth in the teams' classification, while Navarra takes the lead of the drivers' series.

Final IRC classification, end of Safari Rally:

1 Andrea Navarra (I)/Guido d'Amore (I) (Abarth Grande Punto) 2h34m04s

2 Hideaki Miyoshi (J)/Hakaru Ichino (J) (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2h40m03s

3 Asad Anwar (EAK)/Nick Patel (EAK) (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2h45m22s

4 Sammy Aslam (EAK)/Abdul Sidi (EAK) (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2h45m30s

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