Thu 15 Jun 2023

Rally Rewind: Kenya 2022

Safari Rally Kenya will always be one of the most epic adventures to grace the FIA World Rally Championship. Now, just days away from the 2023 edition, we reflect on a marvellously memorable encounter 12 months ago.

Toyota dominance
Locking out the top four places in an FIA World Rally Championship round is a rare achievement in the sport’s modern era.

It had happened only once in the previous 29 years prior to 2022, when Sébastien Loeb led Citroen to a 1-2-3-4 in the WRC's only visit to Bulgaria in 2010.

Toyota Gazoo Racing rewrote those statistics in Naivasha when Kalle Rovanperä, Elfyn Evans, Takamoto Katsuta and Sébastien Ogier brought their GR Yaris cars home in formation after a typically punishing Safari.

In a series where we have become accustomed to drivers fighting over tenths of a second, the next best-placed car, Thierry Neuville’s Hyundai i20 N, was eight-and-a-half minutes adrift.

Puma stars pick up the spanners
M-Sport Ford drivers Gus Greensmith and Adrien Fourmaux both rolled up their sleeves and helped their mechanics to rebuild their pair of Pumas ahead of the rally's final day.

Greensmith’s steed required the most work after it sustained heavy damage to the bodywork and cooling package during a roll.

“It was my decision [to help] when I got back,” he told “This is what happens when you roll a car - you should fix it.”

Fourmaux’s retirement was less self-inflicted, with rear suspension failure sidelining his car after SS8. The Frenchman ran out of time to make repairs at the roadside and he and co-driver Alex Coria re-prepared the car back in service with the help of just one other mechanic.

Ferocious Safari decimates field
The Safari lived up to its reputation as one of the world’s iconic motorsport events. Rocky and sandy gravel tracks around Lakes Naivasha and Elmenteita proved brutal, while stunning scenery, exotic wildlife and enthusiastic locals portrayed Africa at its best.

The unremitting roads cut a swathe through the big guns, ruling out the likes of Sébastien Loeb, who stopped on day one with fire billowing from his Puma’s engine bay. Neuville had to utilise restart rules when he hit a tree in Sleeping Warrior while Ott Tänak, his team-mate at the time, pulled over with power steering failure before the penultimate stage.

Safari Rally Kenya 2022: Review

Kajto’s dream
Kajetan Kajetanowicz scored a career-best result by winning WRC2 on his first visit to Africa, moving to the top of the championship standings in the process.

The Pole led from start to finish of the gruelling four-day fixture in a Škoda Fabia Rally2 and started Sunday’s third and final leg with an advantage of more than 20min, meaning he could afford to measure his pace through the closing six speed tests.

His victory in the championship’s premier support category added to his WRC2 success in Turkey in 2019, when the series formed the sport’s third tier.

“It’s an unbelievable day,” he said at the time. “This is like a dream and I don’t want to wake up. I think we won the hardest rally in the WRC and it was always in my dreams to start here. We are leading the championship and maybe that’s a surprise for me.”

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM