Tue 27 Jun 2023

The rally that has everything

Europe’s lovely. But it’s not Africa. There are some serious withdrawal symptoms going on around here this week. Safari Rally Kenya, wow. Just wow.

From the moment we were watching Ott Tänak going for a run with Eliud Kipchoge through Africa’s fastest Ferdinand Omanyala taking on our current quickest Kalle Rovanperä in Athi River all the way to a quite simply stunning Sunday, round seven just kept on giving.

A slightly different week meant a Wednesday shakedown and the craziness started right there as Taka Katsuta spectacularly barrel rolled his Toyota GR Yaris Rally1. Fortunately Taka, Aaron Johnston and the Toyota were all perfectly fine.

The same could very definitely be said for Kenya’s president William Ruto. He made his WRC debut alongside Pierre-Louis Loubet in a Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid and he… loved it. By his own admission he’s not sure when he’ll next be in a rally car, but he and the Frenchman simply couldn’t stop smiling.

The theme for the next four days had been set: action, entertainment and enjoyment.

The reason for going a day early in shakedown is to make room for the ceremonial start in the centre of Nairobi and the super special stage at Kasarani.

The welcome in the capital city has to be seen to be believed. People hang from every vantage point to catch a glimpse of the world’s best driving down the liaison section and the crowds at the stage itself were enormous. To stand and watch great rooster trails of dust rise to block out the iconic cityscape on the horizon was a jaw-dropping moment.

That was, of course, nothing. Once the locals started doing their thing, the Safari theme went into overdrive. Lions, zebras, rhinos, impalas, just about everything you could possibly imagine out and about on the roads around Lake Naivasha.

Kenya’s truly unique in this great season of ours and what a privilege to share such a stunning event with such a lovely bunch of people.

And that final day? Couldn’t have been more fitting. What a battle, what an absolute edge-of-the-seat conclusion to a cracking four days.

In a word, brilliant. We’re already counting the days until next year’s big African adventure.

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