Kimathi eager to race on ‘familiar’ WRC Portugal Rally roads

McRae Kimathi

Kenyan rally driver McRae Kimathi speaks to journalists at the airport on March 2, 2022 after winding up fourth in the Junior WRC category of Rally Sweden.

Photo credit: SIla Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The duo is excited by the prospect of driving on rally routes similar to Kenyan ones.

McRae Kimathi and Mwangi Kioni arrived in Portugal on Wednesday to test their Ford Fiesta ahead of the WRC Portugal that begins on Thursday next week.

The duo is excited by the prospect of driving on rally routes similar to Kenyan ones.

"I am delighted to start my first Portugal Rally. It's a rally with a rich history and some of the iconic stages like Fafe stage area and the famous Agranil stages,” said Kimathi on phone from Lisbon.

"It is going to be tough but we are here to get as much experience and make out the most of it" Kimathi added.

The duo will be doing their third WRC round this season after snowy Sweden and the tarmac ran of Croatia in the WRC junior category.

They are fresh from winning the junior title of the Africa Championship Uganda leg last week.

Portugal is expected to be demanding. It will be a battle between Sebastien Loeb in a Ford Puma and reigning world champion Sebastien Ogier in a Toyota Yaris.

Ogier could overturn the tables on Loeb, winner of the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo by winning in Matosinhos at the first gravel fixture of the hybrid era.

M-Sport Ford driver Loeb snatched victory in the French Alps in a Puma Rally1 from beneath the nose of his rival’s GR Yaris.

“I think he has a chance to win… because he’s Sébastien Ogier,” Toyota Gazoo technical Tom Fowler told WRC.com.

But what about the rivalry with Loeb?

“It’s good,” he told the site.

“I think they want this kind of thing themselves. I think the rivalry is part of the reason why they want to do these events – they want to meet each other again. While I’m sure they’re friends, this isn’t a personal thing, it’s more on the basis of the next battle.

“If you look at it sensibly, Ogier’s had more time in the car recently, he’s done Portugal more recently and you would have to say he should have the upper hand. Like I said, it’s great, it’s good for the championship and it adds a bit more spice to things.”

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