McRae won the 2002 event in a Ford Focus developed and built by the British M-Sport squad. Fourmaux makes only his third top-level appearance for the team on the Safari’s return to the WRC after a 19-year absence.
“It’s really nice to know the last driver to win the Safari in the WRC was Colin McRae in the M-Sport Focus,” said Fourmaux.
“It will be really difficult to do exactly the same result although you never know because a lot of things can happen. But I want to stay quite humble. It’s an honour for me to do this rally and I can only say thanks to M-Sport for this opportunity.
Video: Safari Rally Kenya preview
“To go to Kenya is really good but with the WRC car it’s a dream and I can’t wait to discover not only the rally but the humanity and the landscape.”
Fourmaux impressed with his pace on his first two Fiesta WRC outings in Croatia and Portugal, where he finished fifth and sixth respectively, but this week’s Naivasha-based event will bring out a more cautious approach.
“I have watched the video of the organiser,” he said. “In some places we will have to almost stop because it’s really rough, but this is when we have to be smart enough to say: ‘Okay, this section we have to be slow. But this section we can be fast’.
“It’s really good that the WRC is going back to Kenya. It will be a really big challenge and we know from the past how difficult this rally was. Okay, it’s a shorter event this time compared to the old WRC event, but it will still be hard and completely different to what we know.
“I’m a bit too young to remember watching the Safari Rally when it used to be in the WRC, but I have seen some videos and it was amazing to see the Ford Focus with the extra bars at the front.
“We will not have this protection but I am sure we will find some giraffes and elephants on the stages so it will be really interesting and for sure we will have to be careful.”
Fourmaux returns to the top-flight Fiesta after Teemu Suninen drove it last time out in Italy.
• 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.