World rally aces Ogier and Tanak arrive for Safari event

Monday, June 21st, 2021 00:27 | By
French driver Sebastien Ogier (right) and French co-driver Julien Ingrassia celebrate on the podium in Olbia on June 06, 2021 after winning the Rally of Sardegna, 5th round of the FIA World Rally Championship. Photo/AFP

Edwin Otieno

World champion Frenchman Sebastian Ogier and his navigator Julien Ingrassia together with Estonian rally star Ott Tanak arrived in the country yesterday for the much hyped return of the World Rally Championship Safari Rally after a 19-year absence.

The two star drivers jetted in in a chartered plane and will have no time to rest as they are expected to join other drivers for a recce in Naivasha today.

Ogier, 37, has won the World Rally Drivers’ Championship seven times in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2020. He will be driving a Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT.

Estonian Tanak, 33, will be navigated by Martin Jarveoja in a Hyundai. He finished third overall in the 2017 and 2018 seasons behind rivals Thierry Neuville and Ogier.

Meanwhile, Miguel Fonseca, a media consultant seconded to the event by WRC promoter, expects the foreign drivers to have a difficult rally, having no experience of the Kenyan roads.

“I have gone through all the stages and I love them. It is something which all the foreign drivers are not used to and they are in for a big surprise this week, that’s for sure.

Although it’s smaller and shorter compared to other rallies in the WRC calendar, but this is the Safari, none can compare to it and it had to be done in Kenya and nowhere else in Africa,” said Fonseca.

He added: “All the cars have already arrived and the manufacturers have already started putting up their structures at the service park in preparation for the start of action.

Most of the drivers have already arrived as well and we were expecting the last batch yesterday.”

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