Mon 12 Jun 2023

Ogier's love of Safari Rally Kenya

Eight-time WRC Champion Sébastien Ogier has talked of his love of Africa and Safari Rally Kenya ahead of the championship's visit to Naivasha next week (22 - 25 June).

Ogier won the Safari on its return to the WRC calendar in 2021 and was leading last year’s event until he stopped to change a puncture on the second run at the Kedong test.

Talking in a recent column, Ogier said: “I love the Safari Rally. Winning this event is one of the highlights of my career. Really, it’s one of the special ones.”

It’s not just the incredible competition the African classic presents, but the people and the place itself that appeal so much to the Toyota-driving Frenchman.

“The place,” he added, “is quite magical.

“The people, the country and the roads - everything is just amazing. When you look to the people, it’s humbling to see how warm they are and for the welcome they are giving to us. They never stop smiling.

“I love this human side of this place and anything I can to help them, I will always do.”

Next week’s seventh round of the FIA World Rally Championship represents one of the season’s most complicated events for the crew and the car.

Ogier said: “The challenge of Safari, it’s unique. It’s not like anywhere else on earth.

“But we don’t forget: the roads also can be super-tough. You can go from the big, big rocks where you take only first gear into places where you struggle like hell to come through the fesh-fesh, with your face full of the dust. And then we’re out to the big, wide open African plains and you are flying and looking up to the big blue sky.

“It’s Africa. I love it.”

Trailer: WRC Safari Rally Kenya 2023

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