Thursday | 24 Jun 2021

Monkeys make mischief with bemused Sordo

If ever the FIA World Rally Championship needed confirmation it was back in Africa, Dani Sordo provided it – with a monkey sitting on top of his recce car at the end of his second practice run at Sunday’s Wolf Power Stage.

The crews have fallen in love with Africa and the challenging nature of the punishing Kenyan roads. And, of course, the wildlife.

Sordo explained the presence of the monkey during Tuesday’s recce. 

 “I know they like bananas,” he said. “I had some in the car, so I thought I would give to them. I got out and gave to one, but then they were all coming to my hand for more bananas. One of them put it on the top of my car – I was still driving and he was still on the top of the car.

“I said ‘hey, come on, you need to get out now’! It was very funny and it’s really something to see these animals in the recce.”

Sordo’s Hyundai Motorsport team-mate Thierry Neuville was similarly enamoured with the terrain. The Belgian is fifth after running wide on a corner during Thursday afternoon’s Super Special Kasarani speed test.

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“It is going to be a challenge, but we have some beautiful stages – especially on Sunday,” said Neuville. “I think these are probably the roughest roads I have seen in my career. Sometimes the road is completely gone and you have to look again to find where it is.

“There are big ruts and deep dips, but as well, the speeds can be really fast here. It’s going to be an adventure.”

Meanwhile, the varying speed of the stages have caught Toyota man Elfyn Evans’ eye. 

“It’s definitely something new from what we’ve had in the past,” said the Welshman, “and it is very mixed as well. There are sections that are very fast, but then some really twisty bits with quite high grip as well.

Fourmaux completed the top ten after Thursday's opener

“And the tempo is changing within the stages. There’s not one stage that’s massively rough from start to finish, but there are short sections that come and go in quite a few stages that are very rough or quite unpredictable.”

For Adrien Fourmaux, this is a return to Africa – but it’s very different from the holiday at the north of the continent he remembers from when he was five years old.

“It’s brilliant,” enthused M-Sport Ford’s Frenchman. “It’s a really great adventure. It’s something which is completely new for everybody. 

“There is something of everything in the roads. I don’t think it’s going to be the fastest guy who is winning this rally. All the time, there is something to be looking out for under the fesh-fesh and on the line.”

• 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.

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