After months of careful preps Safari Rally just days away

Sebastian Ogier

France’s Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia of team Toyota Gazoo Racing are seen on a road section during the 2021 World Rally Championship Safari Rally Kenya on June 24, 2021.

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool |

What you need to know:

  • Spectators have been advised to plan their journey to Naivasha early to avoid inconveniences.
  • Many fans slept by the roadside following a traffic snarl-up. But the head of the security Police Commission Julius Kabiru has assured everybody that this issue has been addressed.

The Safari Rally is finally around the corner after months of meticulous preparations.

The first driver will be flagged off at KICC on Thursday next week at 12:30 and lead the rest of the racing machines to the 4.4km Kasarani Super Special stage.

Kenyans will get a chance to get up close and personal with the new Hybrid racing machines.

World Rally Championship points leader Kalle Rovanpera is expected to pick up from where his father left 20 years ago.

The senior Hari Rovanpera finished second in a Peugeot in the 2002 edition, the last full marathon Safari before the event was dropped from the FIA World Rally Championship because of lack of sponsors and safety concerns.

The championship is shaping up into an unpredictable series following mixed results in Sardinia, Italy two weeks ago.

The 2019 world champion Ott Tanak got back his groove giving Hyundai Shell Mobis their first victory of the season.

Nine times world champion Sebastien Loeb won for Ford Puma in Monte Carlo last January.

But the young Finn Rovanpera of Toyota Gazoo Racing won in Sweden, Croatia and Portugal to open a 120 points lead in the championship.

He is followed by Belgian Thierry Neuville (65 points) and Tanak (62). Toyota and Ford will field four cars each as they chase for victory in Kenya.

Cars will head to Naivasha for an overnight halt after Kasarani before resuming racing proper on Friday in Loldia, Geothermal and Kedong stages, repeated twice.

But before this, rally fans will be treated to action during the shakedown at Ndulele Conservancy near the Great Rift Lodge on Wednesday from 10 am.

The 5.40km stage will offer the competitors an opportunity to test the machines at rally speeds although no points will be scored.

This is also a photo opportunity for the media, and like last year, is expected to attract a high crowd.

The Shakedown was judged as the most-watched in the entire 2021 WRC series on social media.

Rally action moves to Soysambu Wildlife Conservancy between Gilgil and Nakuru where competitors will tackle Soysambu, Sleeping Warrior and Elmentaita stages in a full day of action.

The rally ends on Sunday after going through Oserian, Narasha and Hells’ Gate Wolf Power stages.

The podium has been moved a few metres from last year’s location at the cliff in Hells’ Gate to offer spectators better viewing.

The competition cars from the works teams are expected in Nairobi this weekend with the top drivers doing recce on Monday.

Spectators have been advised to plan their journey to Naivasha early to avoid inconveniences.

Many fans slept by the roadside following a traffic snarl-up. But the head of the security Police Commission Julius Kabiru has assured everybody that this issue has been addressed.

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