Route changes for next Safari Rally

Thursday, October 26th, 2023 01:34 | By
ans watch McRae Kimathi raise dust in one of the sections of the 2023 WRC Safari Rally in Naivasha. PHOTO/MSPORT

Next year’s WRC Safari Rally routes will remain the same, but participants will be driving their machines on the opposite direction on the first two days unlike the last three years.

This was disclosed to People Sport yesterday by the WRC Safari Rally Clerk of Course Gurvi Bhabra who said the slight change promised a total new challenge for the participants.

Next year’s event reverts back to Easter weekend date after last week’s confirmation that the Safari Rally will be the third round of the 2024 World Rally Championship (WRC) and reverts to its original traditional Easter holidays weekend date for the first time in 26 years.

“We have done the routes three times and we thought that it would be more interesting if we change the direction of the competition which will provide fresh challenge for the participants,” Bhabra told People Sport.

He added: “On the first day on Thursday, the 10 kilometers spectator stage at Kasarani will competed in an opposite direction, then on Friday in Kedong the drivers will also be doing opposite direction as well as on Saturday in Sleeping Warrior, Elementeita and Soysambu sections. But Sunday sections will remain the same. ”

Bhabra said the change of dates for the event to Easter Holiday would also make the challenge more interesting especially if it rains, but said they did not plan to improve the surface of the roads because of possible heavy rains.

“We have had rains before and it was not a problem for the cars, they cannot get stuck, they will just be skidding, so we are not planning to improve on the surface. The selected areas with fesh fesh, will become hard as tarmac when it rains so there is no cause of alarm,” he said.

The Safari will be held between March 28-31 in Nairobi and Naivasha, according to the calendar which was released last Friday by the Federation Internationale de I’ Automobile (FIA) World Motorsports Council. The 13 rounds championship will also feature Poland and Latvia.

The iconic Rallye Monte-Carlo flags off the calendar on January 25 - 28, and will be based in the Col de Turini passes high in the French Alps. It will be followed closely by Rally Sweden (15 - 18 February), the only pure snow and ice fixture on the calendar.

Croatia Rally (18 - 23 April) has drawn in hundreds of thousands of spectators since its WRC debut in 2021. Its unique asphalt tracks based around the capital of Zagreb vary from smooth to badly broken and are set to return in all their glory, as will the legendary gravel tests of Vodafone Rally de Portugal (9 - 12 May) – also a huge hit with the crowds.

Mediterranean charm awaits at Rally Italia Sardegna (30 May - 2 June) before the eagerly anticipated return of ORLEN Rally Poland (27 - 30 June), back after a hiatus at the sport’s top level since 2017. Poland’s lightning-fast gravel roads promise a thrilling spectacle which will only be amplified further by the country’s enthusiastic fan base.

WRC will be thrilled to welcome a newcomer in Tet Rally Latvia (18 - 21 July), located in the vibrant southern coastal city of Liepāja.

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