World renowned drivers at WRC Safari Rally wowed by Kenya’s beauty
The World Rally Championship loves a challenge and there’s no challenge bigger or more beautiful than this week’s WRC Safari Rally.
On Thursday, the drivers will descend on Nairobi, embarking on a rally that majority of the current driver lineup has only experienced once.
There’s plenty of new experiences for them, not only the location, but also the tight nature of the stages and the unique wildlife that Kenya has to offer.
All the drivers got their first taste of the rally as they completed their recces on Tuesday and Wednesday and it was immediately clear to them that a number of unique challenges lie ahead.
Last year’s Safari Rally Kenya marked the end of a 20-year wait for the WRC’s return to one of its most magical locations, but like all magical locations, the Rift Valley can conjure tricks no other WRC round could even consider.
French rally driver Sébastien Ogier competing for the Toyota Gazoo Racing Team in the WRC and co-driven by Julien Ingrassia, praised the country saying, “So happy to be back in Kenya and to feel again this amazing atmosphere! @wrcsafarirally is definitely something special.”
— Sébastien Ogier (@SebOgier) June 21, 2022
Orgier has won the World Rally Drivers’ Championship eight times (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021).
On his part, Belgium driver Thierry Jean Neuville, who competes for Hyundai Motorsport, has finished as runner-up in the drivers’ championship five times. He helped Hyundai win their first manufacturers’ title in 2019 and the repeating the feat in 2020.
He also had kind words about Kenya.
“This is what I call magic!” he captioned his magnificent pictures.
— Thierry Neuville (@thierryneuville) June 21, 2022
“It has been an unforgettable adventure already in Kenya and the rally has not even started yet! Amazing what you see on recce of #SafariRallyKenya #WRC.”
Those are the words of Irish driver Craig Breen while sharing several pictures and clips during a safari tour.
— Craig Breen (@Craig_Breen) June 21, 2022
Breen competes full time for M-Sport Ford World Rally Team and was the 2012 WRC Super 2000 world rally champion, scoring class wins in the Monte Carlo Rally, Wales Rally GB, Rally France and the Rally of Spain.
Petter Solberg, who is a Norwegian former professional rally and rallycross driver, debuted in the WRC in 1998 and first started with Ford factory team in 1999 before switching to Subaru World Rally Team. He has described Kenya as an incredible country.
“It’s @wrcsafarirally week here in Kenya, such an incredible country with amazing stages and passionate fans! 🇰🇪🤩 A big challenge for Oliver and all the teams this week!”
It's @wrcsafarirally week here in Kenya for @OliverSolberg01 – such an incredible country with amazing stages and passionate fans! 🇰🇪🤩 A big challenge for Oliver and all the teams this week! pic.twitter.com/s7PKQxnJGE
— Petter Solberg (@Petter_Solberg) June 21, 2022
President Uhuru Kenyatta will flag off this year’s edition of the WRC Safari Rally at midday on Thursday in Nairobi.
Ahead lie 19 gruelling special stages around Lakes Naivasha and Elmenteita covering 363.44km before Sunday afternoon’s finish in Naivasha.
There will be a total of 19 competitive stages in the World Rally Championship Safari Rally.