NAIROBI (KENYA) Thursday, June 24th, 2021 — Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia recorded the
quickest time through the opening 4.84km Kasarani super special stage
at Safari Rally Kenya on Thursday afternoon.
The Toyota Yaris WRC driver stopped the clocks in 3min 21.5sec to open
up a tiny advantage of three-tenths of a second over Finnish team-mate
Kalle Rovanperä. Welshman Elfyn Evans made it a Toyota 1-2-3 on the
opener with Estonian Ott Tänak driving the first of the Hyundais in
In the presence of FIA President Jean Todt, Kenyan President Uhuru
Kenyatta flagged the field away from the official start at the
Kenyatta Conference Centre in Nairobi before the super special stage
got underway to the north-east of the capital.
The Kenyan duo of Onkar Rai and Carl Tundo were given the privilege of
opening the first WRC stage in 19 years and entertaining the crowds on
the dusty super special where cars ran in pairs over two laps. Tundo
was quickest in the first duel with a time of 3min 43.0sec.
But the local drivers were no match for the World Rally Cars that
followed and Rovanperä carded a stunning time of 3min 21.8sec on a
stage where Dani Sordo lost some time in the dust and slipped down to
Only Ogier was able to beat the Finn’s time on the opener, but the
real meat of the action gets underway when crews enter the bush and
the great African unknown on Friday.
Crews will tackle two loops of three stages. Chui Lodge (SS2/5) runs
for 13.34km, has never been used before and heads into the bush and
out over plains before continuing along a twisty and heavily wooded
Kedong (SS3/6) was used in 2002 when the Safari was last included in
the WRC. After a fast start, the track heads across an area of black
cotton sand (fesh-fesh). The 32.68km special is the longest and
potentially most challenging of the rally and concludes across a rough
and rocky section.
The Oserian (SS4/7) stage of 18.87km is another new special and
crosses the plain adjacent to Chui Lodge.
2021 Safari Rally Kenya – positions after SS1:
1. Sébastien Ogier (FRA)/Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Toyota Yaris WRC
2. Kalle Rovanperä (FIN)/Jonne Halttunen (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC
3. Elfyn Evans (GBR)/Scott Martin (GBR) Toyota Yaris WRC
4. Ott Tänak (EST)/Martin Järveoja (EST) Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC
5. Thierry Neuville (BEL)/Martin Wydaeghe (BEL) Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC
6. Takamoto Katsuta (JPN)/Daniel Barritt (GBR) Toyota Yaris WRC
7. Gus Greensmith (GBR)/Chris Patterson (GBR) Ford Fiesta WRC
8. Oliver Solberg (SWE)/Aaron Johnston (IRL) Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC
9. Lorenzo Bertelli (ITA)/Simone Scattolin (ITA) Ford Fiesta WRC
10. Adrien Fourmaux (FRA)/Renaud Jamoul (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC
11. Dani Sordo (ESP)/Borja Rozada (ESP) Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC
12. Martin Prokop (CZE)/Zdeněk Jůrka (CZE) Ford Fiesta MkII (WRC2)