Kenya: Naivasha a Beehive of Activity as WRC Safari Rally Attracts Fans From Wide

Naivasha — They begun steaming in from the crack of dawn, young and old, rally fans from across the globe to witness the prestigious WRC Safari Rally Kenya to run from Thursday to Sunday.

Rally fans from as far as Scotland, South Africa, the United Kingdom and neighbors form Uganda flocked the "Shakedown Stage" to get a good vantage point to view the biggest sporting event on the continent.

The section took off in earnest at exactly 10:01 Wednesday just as planned, first into the dusty section was Kalle Rovanpera, who wet the fans rally pallet with an incredible jump at the spectator stage.

He ended up the fastest in the Shakedown stage as he acclimatized to Kenyan Settings.

The current FIA Championship leader led the biggest threat to Hyundai's Thierry Neuville driving his Hyundai i20 came in a close second missing by a mere 1.3 seconds.

The 5.4km shakedown stage offers the drivers a feel of what the Rally route will throw at them and allows them time to set their suspension to handle the tough terrain.

Each driver was allowed to do three loops round the stage as they acclimatized.

Interestingly the weather department has indicated that it could rain over the next four or five days and that could change the road conditions and rally at large.

This will throw a spanner in the works for the crews who have currently planned for a hot, dry and dusty rally.

A quote from the WRC website has last year's WRC Safari Rally winner Sebastien Ogier on record saying that he believes that this year's rally will offer more challenges than the 2021 edition.

Speaking after the Recce of the rally routes, he said he didn't expect the roads to be as rough. "I really don't know what to expect."

The fastest in the Shakedown stages was Rovanpera with 3mins 42.1sec, Neuville, rally legend Sebastien Loeb who is back to the rally after close to 20 years.

Others are Ott Tanak; the winner of Rally Italia Sardinia in a Shell sponsored Hyundai i20, Sebastien Ogier on 5th place, last year's fastest driver in the Kedong Stage, Takamoto Katsuta was 6th followed Toyotas Elfyn Evans, Gus Greensmith, Adrien Fourmaux and Craig Breen.

The Rally action now moves to Kasarani for SS1; the Super Special; the first competitive stage of the 2022 WRC Safari Rally.

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