Umea, Sweden, February 23 2022—McRae Kimathi and Mwangi Kioni begin their Junior World Rally Championship campaign today in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta in WRC Sweden.
This is their first of five events leading to the global title followed by Croatia, Portugal, Estonia and Greece.
The team is entered by M-Sport Poland who are providing the car and full technical support. It is sponsored by Kenya Airways and Safaricom.
Kimathi is coached by former Kenya national champion Tapio Laukkanen on ice driving. He will be with the team this whole season.
Remote and frozen forests in northern Sweden will provide an intimidating challenge as the FIA World Rally Championship enters uncharted territory this week for the second chapter of its exciting new hybrid era.
Never before has Rally Sweden (24 – 27 February) journeyed so close to the Arctic Circle. With temperatures plunging to a bone-chilling -20°C in the host city of Umeå this week, the speed tests in the Västerbotten region will test competitors to the full.
After a year’s absence due to the pandemic, the new-look Rally Sweden offers perfect conditions for the WRC’s only pure winter fixture as ice and snow-covered roads weave through the picture-postcard countryside.
Winter rallying demands a unique approach. Drivers ‘lean’ their cars against snowbanks to guide them around corners, while studded tyres bite into the ice to provide remarkable grip and ensure that, paradoxically, this will be one of the year’s fastest encounters.
Nordic drivers have traditionally dominated in Sweden but their grip is loosening and Flying Finn Kalle Rovanperä, who heads the entry in his Toyota GR Yaris Rally1, is taking nothing for granted.
Among those team-mates are Britain’s Elfyn Evans, who won Sweden’s last WRC event two years ago, and who is desperate to bounce back from a disappointing season-opener at Rallye Monte-Carlo. The silver lining is a favourable start position for the first day.“In testing we were starting from zero with the snow set-up for the new car and it felt a bit tricky to drive in the beginning. But, together with our team-”
Esapekka Lappi returns to Toyota’s line-up for the first time since leaving the Japanese manufacturer at the end of 2018, while Japan’s Takamoto Katsuta drives another GR Yaris for Toyota’s second-string Next Generation squad.