Kenya

Dust, rocks torment top WRC drivers in Naivasha

Safari Rally continues to torment top class World Rally Championship drivers as the competition gets into the final day on Sunday.

Unlike in the past when the event made its name as one of the wettest events, the current event is held in a dusty and rocky route that has made it difficult for some of the leading names in the World Rally Championship.

France Sebastian Ogier navigated by Benjamin Veillas racing on a Toyota Yaris cruise through the Soysambu Stage on June 25, 2022 during World Rally Championships Safari Rally Kenya.

WRC Safari Rally

Traders hawk their goods at Soysambu Spectators Stage in Nakuru County during the 2022 World Rally Championship Safari Rally on June 25, 2022.

Photo credit: Cheboite Kigen | Nation Media Group

Punctures, damaged car parts and drivers withdrawal from the races has been the order of the day.

Gus Greensmith and Jonas Andersson were allowed to race on without a windscreen after they had rolled their Ford earlier on.

Previously scrutineers would not allow the car to start the event even with a slight crack on the windscreen.

WRC Safari Rally

Adrien Formaux navigated by Alexander Coria racing on a Ford Puma cruise through the Soysambu Stage on June 25,2022 during World Rally Championships Safari Rally Kenya.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

“With approved goggles he is allowed to drive up-to service park. However, if the Scrutineers at the end of the SS find the car unsafe to rally, they can recommend to the Clerk of the Course for the car not to run. What is not allowed, is for him to leave the Service Park in that condition,” Musa Locho, FIA Stewar, told Nation Sport.

Meanwhile, the FIA Vice President For Sport Africa, Rodrigo Rocha visited the WRC Safari Rally Media Centre on Saturday.

“It is great honor to be in Kenya and follow the Safari Rally which is the icon of the African Sport. People are friendly and the organisation is great. It is fantastic to be here,” Rocha said.

WRC Safari Rally

Fans watch the 2022 World Rally Championship Safari Rally at Soysambu Spectators Stage in Nakuru County on June 25, 2022.

Photo credit: Cheboite Kigen | Nation Media Group

Rocha was escorted by Vera Dussasaye, the Communication Manager for Rally and WRC Media Delegate.

Twenty-one-year-old Kalle Ropenpera of Finland looks set to win his fifth event of the 2022 World Rally Championship if all goes well in the final four stages of the competitor on Sunday.

WRC Safari Rally

Finland’s Kalle Rovenpera navigated by Jonne Halttunen racing on a Toyota Yaris  compete at the Soysambu Stage on June 25,2022 during World Rally Championships Safari Rally Kenya.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

The FIA Young Drivers Team of McRae Kimathi and Mwangi Kioni were forced to retire from the rally on Saturday after their Ford Fiesta damaged the front LHS after hitting a rock. The crew is expected to follow the Super Rally Rules in order to rejoin the competition on Sunday.

Carl Tundo, the reigning Kenya National Rally and African champion, said the Safari Rally has been tough.

“I have blisters on my palm after driving the car for almost two days without power steering. I actually don’t like the Sleeping Warrior Stage. It is tough,” stated Tundo.

WRC Safari Rally

Carl Tundo navigated by Tim Jessop racing on a Mitsubishi Evo compete at the Soysambu Stage on June 25, 2022 during World Rally Championships Safari Rally Kenya.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

WRC Safari Rally

Fans enjoy the 2022 World Rally Championship Safari Rally experience at Soysambu Spectators Stage in Nakuru County on June 25, 2022.

Photo credit: Cheboite Kigen | Nation Media Group

Jasmeet Chana was happy with his performance where he is lying in the top-20 of the FIA Class and second in the KNRC category.

“Basically the reliability of the cars depends on the workshop. The driver has then to drive carefully to make sure the car follows the proper line,” said Chana

Chana added: “I don’t understand why the organisers had to cancel SS4 yesterday. The stage is very common in our Championship and we could have survived it.”

Citroen driver, Sean Armstrong, said he now knows what the Safari Rally means in his first outing in the Kenyan event.

WRC Safari Rally

Fans enjoy the 2022 World Rally Championship Safari Rally experience at Soysambu Spectators Stage in Nakuru County on June 25, 2022.

Photo credit: Cheboite Kigen | Nation Media Group

Karan Patel and Tauseef Khan lost 18 minutes after their Ford Fiesta suffered mechanical failure yesterday.

Hamza Anwar and Adnan Din are the only drivers in their Class who have yet to be penalised or forced to rejoin the rally.

“We are doing well keeping our fingers crossed to maintain our good form today in our Ford Fiesta,” Anwar said.

WRC Safari Rally

Akif Virani navigated by Azhar Bhatti racing on a Skoda Fabia compete at the Soysambu Stage on June 25, 2022 during World Rally Championships Safari Rally Kenya.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

Sunday’s final action will see the drivers go through Oserian, Narasha, Hell’s Gate twice.

Sunday’s total mileage will be 358km of which 83km will be competitive.

Overall total mileage will be 1223.77km of which 363km is competitive. A total of 19 stages make up the competition.

Oliver Solberg navigated by Elliot Edmonson  racing on a Hyundai i20 in full cruise during the Soysambu Stage on June 25,2022 during World Rally Championships Safari Rally Kenya.

The longest stage was the Sleeping Warrior which was 31.04km.

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