What you need to know:
- The Toyota Yaris driver, who won the World Rally Championship Safari Rally last year in Naivasha, was 1.2 seconds faster than second placed Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin who was driving a similar car.
- Veteran rally driver Sebastian Leob, who last raced in Kenya in 2002, was the third fastest driver.
World champion Sébastien Ogier and his navigator Benjamin Veillas set the fastest time at the Kasarani Super Spectator Stage on Thursday.
The Toyota Yaris driver, who won the World Rally Championship Safari Rally last year in Naivasha, was +0.6 seconds faster than second placed Belgian Thierry Neuville in a Hyundai.
Ott Tanak, also in a Hyundai, was the third fastest, 1.1sec behind Ogier while Englishman Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin who was driving a Toyota Yarris, was fourth.
Veteran rally driver Sebastian Leob, who last raced in Kenya in 2002, was the fifth fastest driver.
The 2022 WRC Safari Rally is finally here with main event set to be flagged off from the Kenya Wildlife Training Services in Naivasha Friday morning.
The Toyota Yaris of Finland’s Kalle Rovenpera/Jonne Halttunen will be the first car to leave the ramp before heading for the main event where they will tackle four competitive stages starting with Loldia and Kedong before the two stages are repeated during the course of the competition.
The Hyundai Hybrid car of Thierry Neuvilla/Martijn Wydaeghe will follow in second place. These are part of the 31 cars that are listed under the FIA P1, P2 and P3 classes.
The group includes some of the leading Kenya National Rally Championship contenders who include the likes of Carl Tundo, Karan Patel, McRae Kimathi, Maxime Wahome, Jeremey Wahome among others.
Sean Johnston/Alexander Kihurani (Citroen) were the first foreign crew to be flagged off by President Uhuru Kenyatta at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre. Kihurani’s father comes from Karatina.
Kenya's rally sensation McRae Kimathi and Mwangi Kioni were the first crew to be flagged off by the President.
Kenya National Rally Championship leader Karan Patel was the top Kenyan driver, at position 16 overall, at Kasarani, 20.7sec behind Ogier.
The group is divided into two categories which includes the FIA registered drivers and those taking part in the Kenya National Rally Championship part of the competition.
The KNRC Class has 19 cars led by Jasmeet Chana and Ravi Chana in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo10. The group also includes Uganda's top crew of Duncan Mubiri/Musa Nsubuga (Subaru Impreza).
Other drivers from the African continent include Zambia’s Urshila Gomes who will navigate her husband Leroy Gomes, while Sylvia Vindevogel of Burundi will help Giancarlo Davite.
India will also be represented in the WRC by Gaurav Gill. He will drive a Skoda Fabia in Kenya's round of the WRC series.
The rally is expected end on Sunday by 3pm.
The full list of the FIA Registered cars: Kalle Rovenpera/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris), Thierry Neuvilla/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai), Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota Yaris), Ott Tanak/Martin Jarveoja (Hyundai), Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris), Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Ford), Sébastien Loeb/Isabelle Galmiche (Ford), Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (Ford), Sébastien Ogier/Benjamin Veillas (Toyota Yaris), Oliver Solberg/Elliott EdmonDson (Hyundai)
Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre (Ford), Jourdan Serderidis/Frédéric Miclotte (Ford), Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak (Skoda), Martin Prokop/Zdeněk Jurka (Ford), Sean Johnston/Alexander Kihurani (Citroen), Gaurav Gill/Gabriel Morales (Skoda Fabia), Karan Patel/Tauseef Khan (Ford Fiesta)
Leroy Gomes/Urshilla Gomes (Ford Fiesta), Amaanraj Rai/Gurdeep Panesar (Skoda Fabia), Aakhif Virani/Azfar Bhatt (Skoda Fabia),Jeremy Wahome/Victor Okundi (Ford Fiesta), Hamza Anwar/Adnan Din (Ford Fiesta), McRae Kimathi/Mwangi Kioni (Ford Fiesta), Maxine Wahome/Waigwa Murage (Ford Fiesta)
Diego Dominguez/Rogelio Penate (Ford Fiesta), Giancarlo Davite/Sylvia Vindevogel (MItsubishi Lancer), Carl Tundo/Tim Jessop (Mitsubsih Lancer Evo10), Nikhil Sachania/Deep Patel (MItsubishi Lancer), Evans Nzioka/Absolom Aswani (MItsubishi Lancer), Rio Smith/Riyaz Ismail (Ford Fiesta)
The KNRC List: Jasmeet Chana/Ravi Chana (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo10), Duncan Mubiri/Musa Nsubuga (Subaru Impreza), Issa Amwari/Job Njiru (MItsubishi Lancer), Steven Mwangi/Denis Mwenda (Subaru Impreza)
Kush Patel/Mudasar Chaudry (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo10), Andrew Muiruri/Edward Njoroge (Subaru Impreza), Daren Miranda/Amman Shah (Subaru Impreza), Edward Maina/Anthony Gichohi (Subaru Impreza), Zameer Verjee/Zahir Shah (Subaru Impreza), Josiah Kariuki/Johm Ngugi (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9)