WRC- Safari Rally Kenya – Event Preview

WRC- Safari Rally Kenya – Event Preview

The FIA World Rally Championship will return to the African continent and the legendary Safari Rally Kenya for the first time in nearly 20 years, when round six of the 2021 season takes place on June 24-27.

First held in 1953, the Safari Rally was part of the WRC schedule from the inaugural season in 1973 until 2002 and earned a reputation as the toughest event on the calendar, covering enormous distances in arduous conditions. For its return, the format of the event will be closer to a typical WRC round but teams and drivers can still expect an extremely demanding rally, with rough and rocky roads as well as the potential for unpredictable weather.

Safari Rally Kenya represents a new challenge for all of the current drivers, even for seven-time world champion Sébastien Ogier – who heads the standings after taking his third victory of the campaign on the previous event, Rally Italia Sardegna. Ogier’s Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans is 11 points behind in second place, with a further 18 points back to Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville in third.

Ott Tänak is 57 points behind the series leader after losing his chance for victory in Sardinia and will be battling it out in Kenya to regain ground. Similar can be said for Ogier and Evans’s team-mate Kalle Rovanperä, who is sixth in the championship behind Toyota’s Japanese protege Takamoto Katsuta. Adrien Fourmaux returns to M-Sport’s Ford Fiesta WRC line-up for Kenya alongside Gus Greensmith, with Lorenzo Bertelli also taking up the chance to experience the Safari. Nineteen-year-old Oliver Solberg, meanwhile, gets his second outing in a Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, replacing Pierre-Louis Loubet in the 2C Compétition entry, on an event where his father Petter made his WRC breakthrough after a last-minute call-up to the Ford team in 1999.

In FIA WRC2, Martin Prokop makes the trip to Africa in his Ford Fiesta Rally2 entered by M-Sport. The FIA WRC3 entry features a number of Kenyan stars including five-time Safari Rally winner Carl Tundo and Onkar Rai, as well as Polish debutant Daniel Chwist, whose 91-year-old grandfather Sobiesław Zasada makes his ninth Safari Rally start aboard a Ford Fiesta Rally3.


Safari Rally Kenya will feature 18 stages and a total of 320.19 competitive kilometres. Shakedown will be held earlier than usual, on Wednesday afternoon, close to the Service Park on the shores of Lake Naivasha. The rally will then start from the capital city Nairobi on Thursday afternoon, followed by an opening super special stage in nearby Kasarani. The rest of the rally takes place around Naivasha, with Friday featuring a trio of stages on the lake’s southern shores to all be run twice. Saturday’s format is the same but takes place further north near Lake Elmenteita. A total of five stages bring the rally to a close on Sunday, with the Hells Gate test to host the deciding Wolf Power Stage.


Media accreditation and attendance is strictly managed with modified terms under COVID-19 regulations. All attendees are required to comply with the COVID protocol as defined by the event organisers (please refer to Bulletin 1 – see the Virtual Notice Board in the Competitors section on the event website).

Media accreditation must be collected personally by accredited Pass Holders at the Accreditation Desk, located at the Media Center, Naivasha Service Park (next to the Kenya Wildlife Service Training Institute).

Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/AQoUmstcSdGXEGek7 (coordinates: 0°44’35.2″S 36°27’03.0″E)

The opening hours are:

Monday 21 June: 14h00 – 20h00
Tuesday 22 June: 08h00 – 20h00
Wednesday 23 June: 08h00 – 20h00
Thursday 24 June:  08h00 – 18:00
Friday 25 June: 07h00 – 14h00


Tuesday 22 June
Mandatory media safety briefing via video conference (details TBC) 18:00 hrs
Wednesday 23 June 
Shakedown for Priority drivers, Loldia 13:00 – 15:00 hrs
Shakedown for all drivers, Loldia 15:00 – 17:30 hrs
FIA Press Conference, via video conference (details TBC) 16:00 hrs
– FIA WRC2 and WRC3 16:00 hrs
– FIA WRC 16:10 hrs
– Non-priority guest drivers 16:20 hrs
Thursday 24 June
Ceremonial start, Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC), Nairobi 10:00 hrs
Media Zone with P1 drivers for local & internat. accredited media, KICC 10:15 hrs
Family photo with P1 crews (drivers & codrivers), KICC 11:15 hrs
Welcome to Safari Rally Kenya speeches 11:45 hrs
In the presence of His Excellency Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya,
Dr. Amina Mohammed, Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Heritage and Culture of Kenya,
Jean Todt, FIA President.
FIA Safe & Affordable Helmet launch 12:15 hrs
In the presence of His Excellency Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya,
Dr. Amina Mohammed, Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Heritage and Culture of Kenya,
Jean Todt, FIA President,
László Palkovics, Minister for Innovation and Technology of Hungary.
Rally start (start of Section 1), KICC start ramp 12:46 hrs
Friday 25 June
Start of Section 2, Naivasha Service Park 07:00 hrs
First car arrives for media zone, tech. zone & service (TC4A), Naivasha SP 11:42 hrs
First car arrives for media zone, tech. zone, & service (TC7A), Naivasha SP 17:19 hrs
Saturday 26 June
Start of Section 4, Naivasha Service Park 06:55 hrs
First car arrives for MZ, regroup, tech. zone & service (TC10A), Naivasha SP 11:57 hrs
First car arrives for media zone, technical zone & service (TC13A), SP 17:57 hrs
Sunday 27 June
Start of Section 6, Naivasha Service Park 06:25 hrs
First car arrives for media zone before checking in at TC18A, Naivasha SP 14:07 hrs
Podium Ceremony & Price Giving, Naivasha Service Park 15:00 hrs
FIA Press Conference, via video conference (details TBC) 16:15 hrs


Wednesday 23 June FIA WRC2 & WRC3 
WRC2 – M-Sport Ford WRT – Martin Prokop (CZE), Ford Fiesta Mk II
WRC3 – Onkar Rai (KEN), Volkswage, Polo GTI
WRC3 – Carl Tundo (KEN), Volkswagen Polo GTI
Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT – Sébastien Ogier (FRA)
Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT – Thierry Neuville (BEL)
M-Sport Ford WRT – Adrien Fourmaux (FRA)
Toyota Gazoo Racing –  Takamoto Katsuta (JAP)
Sobiesław Zasada (POL), Ford Fiesta ST Rally3
McRae Kimathi, Ford Fiesta ST Rally3
Nikhil Sachania (KEN), Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X
Sunday 27 June Winning FIA WRC3 Championship driver
Winning FIA WRC2 Championship driver
Top three drivers in the overall classification
Representative of the winning manufacturer


Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Sébastien Ogier (FRA) / Julien Ingrassia (FRA) – #1
Elfyn Evans (GBR) / Scott Martin (GBR) – #33
Kalle Rovanperä (FIN) / Jonne Halttunen (FIN) – #69
Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Thierry Neuville (BEL) / Martin Wydaeghe (BEL) – #11
Ott Tänak (EST) / Martin Järveoja (EST) – #8
Dani Sordo (ESP) / Borja Rozada (ESP) – #6
M-Sport Ford WRT Gus Greensmith (GBR) / Chris Patterson (IRL) – #44
Adrien Fourmaux (FRA) / Renaud Jamoul (BEL) – #3

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