WRC Safari Rally Kenya 2024 officially flagged off

By Timothy Albrite

The 71st anniversary edition of the WRC Safari Rally Kenya roared into life today with a spectacular flag-off ceremony at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi. President William Ruto officiated the event, which marks the beginning of three days of adrenaline-pumping action across Kenya’s rugged terrain.

A thrilling Super Spectator StageĀ  at Kasarani, spanning 4.84 kilometers, followed, captivating the audience with its speed and skill. Following this electrifying start, participants will embark on their journey to the Service Park in Naivasha. Here, teams are expected to fine-tune their vehicles, ensuring they are in peak condition for the challenges ahead.

The rally’s heart lies in Naivasha, where drivers will navigate through various routes including Malewa, Loldia, Elementaita, and Soysambu. Along these routes, spectators will have the opportunity to witness the awe-inspiring spectacle of rally cars tearing through the picturesque landscapes.

For information on the timings and spectator stages ahead of the rally, click here.

Prior to the official start, rally drivers faced the daunting Loldia Ranch shakedown, a 5.4-kilometer test of skill and preparation. While not a scoring event, the shakedown provided invaluable insights into the conditions awaiting the drivers and their machines.

President Ruto extended a warm welcome to all participants, emphasizing the significance of the Safari Rally as a showcase of Kenya’s rich motorsport heritage. 

He urged Kenyans to flock to Naivasha to witness firsthand the thrill and excitement of this prestigious event.

With FIA Vice-President for Sport Africa and FIA World Motor Sport Council member Rodrigo Rocha in attendance, the Safari Rally promises to captivate audiences worldwide. President Ruto set an ambitious target of reaching 100 million viewers globally, building upon the impressive audience of 80 million in 2023.

Beyond its sporting prowess, the Safari Rally is a vital economic catalyst, injecting billions of shillings into Kenya’s economy. President Ruto highlighted its role in fostering unity and cultural cohesion among Kenyans, making it a cherished event for families and communities.

All eyes are on Toyota Gazoo Racing as they aim to extend their dominance, facing stiff competition from Hyundai Motorsport and M-Sport Ford. With seasoned drivers like Elfyn Evans, Esapekka Lappi, Thierry Neuville, and Adrien Fourmaux, the stage is set for a fiercely contested battle.

As the rally unfolds across the scenic landscapes of Lakes Naivasha and Elmenteita, spectators are reminded to prioritize safety while enjoying the high-speed thrills. 

President Ruto affirmed Kenya’s commitment to maintaining the Safari Rally as a world-class sporting event, leveraging its potential to boost tourism and drive economic growth.

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