What you need to know:
- The 12-second Instagram reel posted on the official WRC Safari Rally Kenya handle on November 11 has become a global viral sensation, garnering a staggering 6.1 million views and 9,772 watch hours in just eight days
- Besides attesting to the anticipation of Easter Safari Rally, the reel has emerged as the third most viewed Instagram Viral Reel in the world of sports globally in the last nine days behind Formula 1 and the UEFA Champions League handles
- It is also the best-ever performing sports Instagram Reel produced locally in Kenya, and the second best behind the 49-second clip featuring Takamoto Katsuta shot by WRC+ TV in the 2021 Safari Rally which attracted over 14 million views on YouTube
With a confirmed Easter date for 2024, the World Rally Championship Safari Rally is causing a rave on social media.
One reel by a Kenyan content creator has spread across like bush fire, confirming the creative potential of young Kenyans now stalking their space in the digital world, coincidentally as President William Ruto Monday launched the Commonwealth Innovation Week in Nairobi.
The 12-second Instagram reel posted on the official WRC Safari Rally Kenya handle on November 11 has become a global viral sensation, garnering a staggering 6.1 million views and 9,772 watch hours in just eight days and the numbers continue to rise with viewers sharing amongst themselves 77,700 times.
Besides attesting to the anticipation of Easter Safari Rally, the reel has emerged as the third most viewed Instagram Viral Reel in the world of sports globally in the last nine days behind Formula 1 and the UEFA Champions League handles, a testament to the power of Social Media.
The reel, which had by Monday attracted 686,000 likes and become a global talking point with 2,391 comments, features Frenchwoman Michele Mouton and Italian Fabrizia Pons in the all-conquering Audi Quattro A2 screaming through the Ole Tepesi-Ntulele stage at 245 kilometres per hours, the highest speed ever achieved in the old Safari Rally, in the 1983 Safari Rally, interspersed with clips of famous sections and WRC events across the globe.
Her demeanour has sent viewers in a spin.
“How do you feel as the start time is approaching,” the TV commentator is heard asking Mouton before the start of the 1983 Safari outside the KICC where she was seeded first.
She responds in her famed ice-cold one-liners in media interviews: “I don't feel at all.”
This has sent the Netizens into a spin especially young people who never saw the Group ‘B’ cars in action.
It is also the best-ever performing sports Instagram Reel produced locally in Kenya, and the second best behind the 49-second clip featuring Takamoto Katsuta shot by WRC+ TV in the 2021 Safari Rally which attracted over 14 million views on YouTube.
However, the best all-time Kenyan sports short video is the Kenya high school jump uploaded by Michael Stewart on YouTube 10 years ago which has so far attracted 50 million views.
The Mouton reel, crafted by Safari Rally's Instagram Administrator, Ted Mungai, a communication student at Kenyatta University, captures the essence of Mouton's remarkable journey in a male-dominated sport.
She was runner-up in the 1982 WRC drivers’ standings and third in the 1983 Safari Rally.
Mouton's prowess is showcased in a captivating narrative that not only celebrates her achievements but also underscores her resilience in breaking barriers within the male-dominated world of rallying.
The second best performing Reel is a second clip showing Toni Gardemeister driving his SEAT WRC in 2000 WRC Safari without a side door has attracted 522,000 views while another one featuring 1997 Safari winner Colin McRae had 246,000.
What makes this social media triumph even more impressive is its timing?
"I didn’t have any intention other than doing the routine job at the start of WRC's Rally Japan,“ said Mungai.
"I guess this impressive figures coming during the season ending FORUM8 WRC Japan had many people fixed on the WRC Safari Rally next March because our second best reel has attracted more than 704,000 views and 259,000 respectively.
“The Kenya landscape and rough roads have contributed significantly to the growth of our page.
“I have done over 1,700 reels but I have only become more accustomed to work which captures the viewers after attending the World Athletics Media Development Programme (MDP) training for senior editors in Africa organised by Elias Makori in the sidelines of the Kip Keino Classic Continental Tour meeting last year,” said Mungai.
“Elias (the Nation Media Group’s Lead Editor – Sports and Integration Projects) requested World Athletics’ Social Media Expert and Stakeholder Communication Manager Michelle (Sammet) and Martina (Kucerova), Media Operations Senior Manager, to train me and my colleagues at Safari Rally Lawrence Kiende and Ali Hashim on the dynamics of Social Media for Media during the MDP training for top sports editors from Africa before 2022 Kip Keino Classic Continental Tour,” he narrated.
“The video's success underscores the universal appeal of Mouton's story, and the Safari Rally transcends history and the confines of regional events,” he said, adding the overall direction offered by their team leader Sophie Kinoti is helping in exploiting social media to tell the Kenyan story.
The Viral Reel continues to climb; out- outperforming the FORUM8 WRC Japan and the official WRC content on Instagram which managed to achieve only two reels surpassing the one million mark during the same week.
The Reel has sparked conversations worldwide, resonating with fans who appreciate the significance of her contributions to the sport.
The widespread engagement with the reel indicates that Mouton's impact extends far beyond the immediate rally community, reaching enthusiasts and supporters across the globe.
In the fast-paced world of motorsports, where roaring engines and adrenaline-pumping moments dominate the scene, this one unexpected star has been hailed as a heroine of Cleopatra’s pedigree, far higher than American celebrity Kim Kardashian, and, perhaps, Netflix streaming service should make a docu-movie of her.
Mungai said showcasing not only the thrilling moments of the rally itself, but also the compelling narratives that surround the sport serves as a testament to the power of storytelling in motorsports, proving that compelling narratives can captivate audiences and elevate the profile of events on a global scale.