Kenya’s Safari Rally returns to WRC calendar

By Colin Wood
Jun 23, 2021 | rally, WRC, Kenya, Safari Rally Kenya

Photography Credit: Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool

Regarded as one of the most punishing events of the season, the Safari Rally Kenya returns to the WRC for 2021 after a 19-year absence.

Set for June 24-27, the upcoming rally will consist of “long straight dusty roads where speeds could top 200 kph” as well as “rocky rutted tracks that reduce cars to little more than walking pace” over 18 stages that cover nearly 200 miles.

Since Kenya hasn’t been on the calendar since 2002, many of the drivers, as the release points out, have never experienced the Safari Rally.

In an attempt to gain some insight while still staying within the rules—testing outside of Europe isn’t allowed—drivers like Toyota’s Sébastien Ogier and Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville traveled to Spain and Portugal, respectively, to simulate similar conditions to what they might face in Kenya.

Ahead of the finish in Naivasha on Sunday, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta is set to flag each team away from the start in Nairobi tomorrow around noon.

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Vajingo HalfDork
6/23/21 3:46 p.m.

That sounds pretty cool. It's been a long time. The old celica was king of the desert. Wonder what will rise to the top here?

interesting they cannot leave Europe to test. How does it work when the rally is in Europe? "Test anywhere but here"?

pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/24/21 1:15 p.m.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/24/21 8:44 p.m.

In reply to pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) :

That's not the Celica I think of when I think of "Safari".


Safari is (was, at least) an endurance test more than a speed contest.  The TA64 was essentially a beefed up MkII Escort with a K27 turbo on a 2090cc T-series engine.  Tough, and simple enough that if it broke it could be easily repaired.



j_tso Reader
6/26/21 7:13 p.m.

Got a downpour on day 3, now we can have a muddy Yaris photo to go with the Celica. I'd like a new shot with Mt. Kilimanjaro in the background, but none of the stages are anywhere near it.


Vajingo said:

interesting they cannot leave Europe to test. How does it work when the rally is in Europe? "Test anywhere but here"?

Pretty sure it's just for Kenya. They don't want well funded teams flying there ahead of the rally for extra practice.

californiamilleghia SuperDork
6/26/21 7:52 p.m.

are there any Youtube  videos of the days action ?

I just started watching  the short video of the 1973 race that Datsun won :)

j_tso Reader
6/27/21 11:30 a.m.

I haven't been able to find much free coverage.

The official WRC youtube channel has pitiful 2 minute highlight clips.

Red Bull's channel has 5 minute highlights.

petemc53555 New Reader
7/5/21 9:34 p.m.

If you have Netplix the Red Bull Channel has daily coverage of all WRC events.  Search events on the RedBull Channel

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