2022 WRC Safari Rally Kicks Off Today, Eyes on Rovanpera After Successful Shakedown Sprint

The 2022 WRC Safari Rally, also known as the Safari Rally Kenya, kicks off on Thursday for a four-day off-road action-packed safari into the Kenyan wilderness. This year will be the 69th running of the famous Safari Rally, and the event is the sixth round of the 2022 World Rally Championship, World Rally Championship-2, and World Rally Championship-3.
2022 WRC Shakedown 9 photos
Photo: WRC / Sebastien Ogier
2022 WRC Shakedown2022 WRC Shakedown2022 WRC Shakedown2022 WRC Shakedown2022 WRC Shakedown2022 WRC Shakedown2022 WRC Shakedown2022 WRC Shakedown
The 2022 WRC Safari Rally, based in Nairobi, Kenya, runs from 23rd to 26th June, with over nineteen stages covering an estimated 225 miles (362 kilometers).

On Wednesday, the drivers had an opportunity to acclimatize with the African rally terrain through a shakedown session before the event officially flags off on Thursday morning in Nairobi City.

During the 5.04 kilometers (3.3 miles) warm-up in Loldia, Naivasha, FIA World Rally Champion Kalle Rovanpera set the pace five-tenths of a second ahead of his closest title challenger Thierry Neuville driving a Hyundai i20 N.

Sebastien Loeb was 1.3 seconds behind, cruising through the scenic plains overlooking the picturesque Rift Valley in an M-Sport Ford Puma.

While the conditions in Naivasha seem torrid, things could get muddy as the country gets into its second rainy season in late June.

During last year’s event, 2021 WRC Safari Rally winner Sebastien Ogier clinched the top spot driving a GR-Yaris before his teammate Kalle Rovanpera posted the benchmark time on the second run.

A lot of drivers are anticipating a more arduous track this year. “We had our first proper taste of a real Safari stage this morning over the 5.4-kilometer shakedown. It was a really enjoyable run, but a puncture on the second pass cost us some time,” Craig Breen, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team driver, said.

2021 WRC Safari Rally winner, Sebastien Ogier, told WRC, “it seems that this year the rally will be even tougher. I was not expecting such rough conditions like we saw on the recce, and the roads are even more soft than last year,” he explained.

The 2022 WRC Safari Rally officially kicks off Thursday at the monumental KICC (Kenyatta International Conference Center). The drivers will have a short two-at-a-time sprint to the Moi International Sports Stadium Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, City, before flooring their racers 100 kilometers (62 miles) to the wildlife game reserve town of Naivasha, where the event takes place.
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About the author: Humphrey Bwayo
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Humphrey is a car enthusiast whose love and passion for automobiles extended into collecting, writing, driving, and working on cars. He got his passion for cars from his Dad, who spent thousands of hours working on his old junky 1970 E20 Toyota Corolla. Years later, he would end up doing the same with a series of lemons he’s owned throughout his adult life.
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