WRC: Safari Rally puts Kenya back on the world stage | Motorsport News
Known as one of the toughest races in the world, the 18-stage return Safari Rally takes place over four days from June 24-27.
Nairobi, Kenya – After a 19-year absence, Kenya is hosting the World Rally Championship (WRC) this week, with thousands of fans attending the famous Safari Rally, known to be one of the toughest races in the world.
From Thursday, the rally will run until June 27.
âWe are following the event, in all its aspects. This is what we are here for, because it is an event that we really aspire to, âa young spectator told Al Jazeera during the first stop in the capital, Nairobi.
– Safari Rally Kenya (@wrcsafarirally) June 24, 2021
The Safari Rally first took place in 1953, an epic nearly 2,000-kilometer (1,240-mile) marathon over often cut-throat terrain.
As international standards developed, the Safari Rally remained unchanged, leading the WRC to part ways with it decades later.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has vowed to bring the event back after taking office eight years ago. On Thursday, he officially reported it.
âEverything is organized according to international standards,â Al Jazeera’s Malcolm Webb reported from the event.
Speaking to Al Jazeera from the edge of the track, Kimathi Maingi, a former Safari Rally driver, said: âWhen we did rallies before, we didn’t need to wear safety clothing. You could have your T-shirt; it was an option to wear gloves or not.
âBut now they’re supposed to wear flame retardant protection; they’re supposed to have a helmet. Everything is compulsory.
In total there are 18 stages of rugged dirt roads through bush, forest and savannah.
At the end of the day on Friday, the Belgian Thierry Neuville from Hyundai was leading the race.
After the seven opening specials, the classification is as follows:
- 1. Thierry Neuville (BEL / Hyundai) 1h23min 19,1sec
- 2. Takamoto Katsuta (JPN / Toyota) at 18.8sec
- 3. Ott Tanak (EST / Hyundai) 55.8
- 4. SÃ©bastien Ogier (FRA / Toyota) 1: 49.4
- 5. Gus Greensmith (GBR / M-Sport Ford) 1: 56.1
- 6. Adrien Fourmaux (FRA / M-Sport Ford) 2: 19.1
There will be six timed specials on Saturday, with five more scheduled for Sunday.