High-Speed Excitement: 34 Drivers Confirmed for WRC Safari Rally in Kenya”


Nairobi, Kenya, May 22, 2023 — Get ready for adrenaline-pumping action as 34 skilled drivers, including powerhouse teams from M-Sport Ford, Toyota Gazoo Racing, and Hyundai, gear up for the thrilling 70th WRC Safari Rally in Naivasha, Kenya. From June 22-26, witness the heart-pounding competition just 90km west of Nairobi, where the world’s best rally drivers will put their skills to the test.

M-Sport Ford leads the charge with three formidable cars in the P1 category, spearheaded by the talented 2019 world champion Ott Tanak from Estonia. Frenchman Pierre Louis Loubet and Greek driver Serderidis will also pilot Ford Puma Hybrid R1 cars. Additionally, Greek Georgios Vasilakis joins the team in a Ford Fiesta R2 for the Rally 2 category.

Hyundai’s impressive lineup features lead driver Thierry Neuville, alongside the accomplished Daniel Sordo and Esapekka Lappi, who recently clinched third place in Portugal. Hot on their heels is Tanak, fresh off his victory in Sweden, closely followed by Sebastien Ogier, as they gear up for the forthcoming WRC event in Sardinia, Italy.

Meanwhile, the Toyota Gazoo Racing Team is eager to defend their third consecutive Safari title, with last year’s champion, Finnish driver Kalle Rovanpera, at the helm. Rovanpera will be joined by British driver Elfyn Evans, eight-time world champion Ogier, and Japanese talent Katsuta Takamoto, all driving the dominant Yaris GR, which has triumphed in four out of the last five rounds this season.

In the Rally 3 category, Canadian drivers Jason Bailey and James Willets, racing in a Ford Fiesta, will take on three young Kenyan talents. McRae Kimathi, who finished fifth in the JWRC last year, Hamza Anwar, currently competing in the same series, and Jeremiah Wahome, all showcasing their skills in the Ford Fiesta R3. Joining the roster is Diego Dominguez from Paraguay, accompanied by Spaniard Rogelio Panate, in their Ford Fiesta R3.

Notably, three-time European champion Kajetan Kajetanowicz returns to Kenya, determined to defend his WRC2 title. With his wealth of experience, Kajetanowicz aims to secure maximum points and keep his world title hopes alive after missing out on the coveted crown in last year’s season-ending WRC Japan.

The WRC Safari Rally, held in the scenic African continent, marks the seventh round of the FIA World Rally Championship. This exhilarating event, celebrated for its speed, resilience, and engineering excellence, captivates Kenya every year in the third week of June since 2021. With thousands lining up the rally routes and over 150,000 spectators attending the stages in Nairobi and Naivasha, the Safari Rally Kenya has become one of the most anticipated and watched WRC rounds globally on TV and Social Media channels.

Since its inception as the East African Coronation Rally in 1953, the Safari Rally has become an integral part of the WRC, renowned as the “Toughest Rally in the World.” Even in the modern-day WRC format, it maintains its unique and unpredictable nature. As drivers navigate through the awe-inspiring African Savannah, brimming with wildlife and captivating geographical features such as mountains and lakes, the Safari Rally guarantees an extraordinary Kenyan experience in the heart of Africa.

World Rally Championship Lineup:

1: Kalle Rovanpera, FIN/Jonne Halttunen

FIN, Toyota GR Yaris Hybrid Rally 1
2: Takamoto Katsuta, JPN/Aaron Johnston, IRL, Toyota GR Hybrid Yaris Rally 1
3: Elfyn Evans, GBR/Scott Martin, GBR, Toyota GR Yaris Hybrid Rally 1
4: Sébastien Ogier, FRA/Vincent Landais, FRA, Toyota GR Yaris Hybrid Rally 1
5: Thierry Neuville, BEL/Martijn Wydaeghe, BEL, Hyundai i20 N Hybrid Rally 1
6: Esapekka Lappi, FIN/Janne Ferm, FIN, Hyundai i20 N Hybrid Rally 1
7: Daniel Sordo, ESP/Candido Carrera, ESP, Hyundai i20 N Hybrid Rally 1
8: Ott Tanak, EST/Martin Jarveoja, EST, Ford Puma Hybrid Rally 1
9: Pierre Louis Loubet, FRA/Nicholas Gilsoul, FRA, Ford Puma Hybrid Rally 1
10: Jourdan Serderidis, GRC/Andy Malfoy, FRA, Ford Puma Hybrid Rally 1
11: Kajetan Kajetanowicz, POL/Maciej Szczepaniak, POL, Skoda Fabia Evo Rally 2
12: Martin Propkop, CZE/Zdeněk Jurka, CZE, Ford Fiesta MKII Rally 2
13: Daniel Chwist, POL/Kamil Hellier, POL, Ford Fiesta MKII Rally 2
14: Georgios Vasilakis, GRC/Thomas Krawzik, GBR, Ford Fiesta Rally 2
15: Gregoire Munster, LUX/Louis Louka, BEL, Ford Fiesta Rally 2
16: Miguel Diaz, PH/Rodrigo Sanjuan, ESP, Skoda Fabia Evo Rally 2
17: Oliver Solberg, SWE/Elliot Andrew Edmondson, GBR, Skoda Fabia Evo Rally 2
18: Karan Patel, KEN/Tauseef Khan, KEN, Ford Fiesta Rally 2
19: Armin Kremer, GER/Timo Gottschalk, GER, Fabia Evo Rally 2
20: Samman Vohra, KEN, Gugu Panesar, KEN, Skoda Fabia Evo Rally 2
21: Aakif Virani, KEN/Azhar Bhatti, KEN, Skoda Fabia Rally 2
22: Piero Canobbio, KEN/Fabrizia Pons, ITA, Hyundai NG i20 Rally 2
23: Yasin Nasser, UGA/Ali Katumba, UGA, Ford Fiesta Rally 2
24: Diego Dominguez, PRY/Rogelio Panate, ESP, Ford Fiesta Rally 3
25: Jason Bailey, CAN/James Willets, CAN, Ford Fiesta Rally 3
26: Jeremiah Wahome, KEN/Victor Okundi, KEN, Ford Fiesta Rally 3
27: Hamza Anwar, KEN/Adnan Din, KEN, Fiesta Rally 3
28: McRae Kimathi, KEN/Mwangi Kioni, KEN, Ford Fiesta Rally 3
29: Giancarlo Davite, ITA/Sylvia Vindevogel, BEL, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X NR4
30: Nikhil Sachania, KEN/Deep Patel, KEN, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X NR4
31: Evans Nzioka, KEN/Absalom Aswani, KEN, Mitsubishi Lancer


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