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Safari Rally 2023 kicks off in Kenya

From Nairobi to Naivasha, a 'cult' for the motorsport world

22-06-2023 by redazione

Starting today from Uhuru Park in Nairobi, after the official flag off by president Ruto yesterday in Naivasha, the 2023 edition of the legendary 'Safari Rally', one of the most scenic and evocative events for motor enthusiasts around the world.
The competition, which returned to Kenya in 2019 after years of anticipation, and was again suspended due to the inevitable stop for the pandemic, has attracted fans from all over and above all 38 top-notch crews, at least 10 of which are world class participating in the category championship.
The Safari Rally is one of Kenya's tourist attractions, boosting the economy especially in the Lake Naivasha area, where the special stages take place. . Former sports minister Amina Mohamed revealed that the 2021 Safari Rally WRC injected six billion shillings into the Kenyan economy.  
This year's event promises even more fun and excitement.
Defending champion, Finland's Kalle Rovanpera, already leading the world rankings before the Kenyan competition in his Toyota Gazoo, and last year's winner, France's Sebastian Ogier are expected to lead what has often been described as the toughest and wildest stage on the world circuit.
Other major protagonists, who will be battling it out from today's special stage in the Kasarani district of Nairobi, before transferring to the dirt roads of Naivasha, Nakuru and Gilgil, will be Ott Tänak, Evans Elfyn, Thierry Neuville (second in the overall standings in his Hyundai), Esapekka Lappi, Dani Sordo, Katsuta Takamoto and Solberg Olive. Karen Patel, Kimathi McRae (Ford Fiesta) and Carl Tundo (Fabia R5) are the prominent kenyans on the road. 
Drivers face 19 stages over four days on this year’s Safari Rally Kenya, but unusually the weekend gets underway earlier than normal with the shakedown stage on Wednesday before the opening competitive test on Thursday afternoon. Some 78 miles of driving then await the crews on Friday, with Kedong being the longest test at 19.02 miles.
As Citizen Digital recalls, "drivers often look forward to racing on the wide roads of Naivasha due to their unpredictable nature. The dusty roads could easily become muddy and impassable in the event of rain, which is always a possibility at this time. 'Fesh fesh' is a term you are likely to hear often from motorsport enthusiasts. It refers to the fine dust on roads that looks like solid ground. On rocky terrain it is extremely slippery and usually sticks to car engines, causing serious performance problems. It also lingers in the air, causing serious visibility problems for drivers. Teams often struggle to deal with it. Last year, Toyota did the unthinkable, taking all the podium places.

TAGS: safari rallynaivashamotorisport

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