Mon 25 Mar 2024

WRC stars stunned by Magical Kenya

The legendary Safari Rally Kenya began with a unique twist as the FIA World Rally Championship’s (WRC) top drivers embarked on an extraordinary safari adventure in the world-renowned Maasai Mara National Reserve.

Leading drivers including current championship leader Thierry Neuville of Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team and second-placed Elfyn Evans of Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team immersed themselves in a complete two-day safari experience alongside M-Sport Ford’s Gregoire Munster and the WRC2 pairing of Nicolas Ciamin and Yannick Roche.

Away from the intense rally schedules, the drivers bonded amidst Kenya’s breathtaking landscapes, immersing themselves in the rich and colourful Maasai culture and indulging in once-in-a-lifetime encounters with the region’s iconic wildlife.

Highlights included a hot air balloon ride at sunrise, providing panoramic views of rhinoceros and elephants in their stunning natural habitat. They were also treated to close-up encounters with lions, water buffalo, giraffes and hippopotamuses, among other awe-inspiring creatures.

“It has been a great experience, it was a really nice welcome,” expressed Neuville. “The hot air balloon was the highlight. In such a beautiful landscape it was very unique.

“It was beautiful scenery and a great experience getting very close to the elephants.”

For Evans, it was an opportunity to do something out of the norm. He said: “It is a different experience to normally when we travel, especially in Europe so nice to do.”

Meanwhile, Munster appreciated the chance to bond with his fellow competitors outside of the rallying environment. The Luxemburg driver said: “When you are on the rally between stages you don’t have a lot of time to really socialise and you have a bit of pressure and a lot of mechanical stuff to do. So here, having two days just to socialise and experience things you wouldn’t do normally, is quite nice.”

Accompanying the WRC stars was Kenya’s Principal Secretary of Tourism John Ololtuaa, who emphasised the significance of showcasing Kenya’s natural beauty to the world.

“It is important that [the drivers] came to the Maasai Mara.” Ololtuaa said. “We wanted them to experience the beauty that is here. It becomes part and parcel of projecting to the world what we have as Kenya.”

The rally official starts on Thursday (28 March) from the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi.

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