Mon 25 Mar 2024

Weather watch: Stern test awaits at Safari Rally Kenya

This week’s Safari Rally Kenya (28 - 31 March) is shaping up to be one of the most challenging since the event’s return to the FIA World Rally Championship in 2021.

Heavy rain in the days leading to the recce has muddied the roads, with some of the crews struggling in some sections. Bringing the event forward in the calendar has returned the Safari to its classic March date, which aligns more closely with the rainy season in Kenya.

In an effort to deal with potentially flooded roads, many of the cars are running snorkels, which allow the engine to breathe whilst reducing the risk of ingesting water.

Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala admitted the event could provide a different – and sterner – test than in previous years. Predictably, given his team’s 100% success rate on the modern event, he’s excited to be back in Naivasha.

“The Safari Rally is an event we always look forward to,” he said.

“This year, it could bring a different challenge with the change of date: now it’s the rainy season in Kenya so there’s more risk of difficult conditions. When it rains there, the stages can get extremely slippery and it can be quite a challenge for the drivers to tackle.

“Patience is always very important, and especially if the weather gets difficult. Being the smartest can be the key, rather than being the fastest. All of our drivers have shown what it takes to do well there and we would really like to see another Toyota win. It’s difficult to make significant changes to the car for this one event, but we are introducing a general update for the suspension. It’s also great that we can fit snorkels to the cars, which will not only look quite cool but also help if there is more water on the road.”

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