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World Rally Championship: Preps in top gear for Naivasha action

Tuesday, June 20th, 2023 10:38 | By
2019 World Rally Championship series winner and Eliud Kipchoge. PHOTO/(@OttTanak)/Ott Tanak/Twitter.
2019 World Rally Championship series winner and Eliud Kipchoge. PHOTO/Ott Tanak/Twitter.

World Rally Championship preparations in Naivasha are in high gear ahead of the global showpiece to be held from Thursday, June 22, 2023, to June 24, 2023.

Scrutineering/component and reconnaissance exercises have been set for Tuesday before the shakedown takes place at Lotia on Wednesday, June 21, 2023.

The exercises will let the participating Priority 1 World Rally Teams drivers test their engines before the ultimate showdown.

Entries

Four Kenyans have been listed in the national category: Evans Kavisi, Nikhil Sachania from Team KCB, and Minesh Rathod and Josiah Kariuki, both from Team Subaru.

There will be four national entries, and another 11 drivers have confirmed participation in the KNRC Safari Rally category. The 11 drivers are Jasmeet Chana, Issa Amwari, Amman Shah, Natasha Tundo, Edward Maina, Gerald Maina (G Captain), Andrew Muiruri, Kay Wachira, Jennifer Ayietsa, Pauline Sheghu, and Tinashe Gatimu.

The 2023 entry list has 10 top-level Rally1 hybrid cars, 11 WRC2 runners, and a five-strong WRC3 line-up that includes McRae Kimathi, Jeremiah Wahome, and Hamza Anwar of Kenya KQ/Safaricom.

The previous winners, Kalle Rovanpera and Sebastien Ogier, will race in Toyota GR Yaris cars along with Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta.

i20 N’s for Esapekka Lappi, Thierry Neuville, and Dani Sordo have been entered for Hyundai Motorsport. Ott Tanak, who recently met with long-distance runner Eliud Kipchoge at the Global Sports Communication Training Centre in Kaptagat in Elgeiyo Marakwet County, Pierre-Louis Loubet, and privateer Jourdan Serderidis, will race the M-Sport Ford Pumas. 

Tanak's target

Tanak, the 2019 World Rally Championship series winner from Finland, has set his sights on the top prize during the 2023 Safari Rally.

"Kenya has one of the most challenging courses, and it’s one of the toughest in the world championships. We know it’s going to be hard but our target is to manage it well and come out on top, which will be a good thing for us," Tanak said in a recent interview with a local media outlet.

2019 World Rally Championship series winner in action. /(@OttTanak)/Ott Tanak/Twitter.
2019 World Rally Championship series winner in action. /(@OttTanak)/Ott Tanak/Twitter.

Kajetan Kajetanowicz headlines the WRC2 entry in a Skoda Fabia RS Rally2, and Gregoire Munster in a Ford Fiesta Rally2 and Karan Patel in a Ford Fiesta R5 are entries in the premier support category.

Naivasha Service Park manager Joe Muchiri revealed that the preparations for the event have been in top gear.

"With designated roles, we have had a smooth and flawless order of business," Muchiri told a local publication. "It is down to rally protocols, and only accredited people are being allowed into the service park."

Since Saturday, June 17, the cars inside the shipping containers have been unpacked, and the crew members have started assembling and branding the racing cars.

The crew has also secured reserved spaces and branded the designated ground that is allocated to different brands with their customary logos.

The 2023 edition attracted many sponsors, including Talanta Hela, the Kenya Wildlife Service, the government, and KCB Bank.

2019 World Rally Championship series winner and Eliud Kipchoge. PHOTO/(@OttTanak)/Ott Tanak/Twitter.
2019 World Rally Championship series winner and Eliud Kipchoge. PHOTO/(@OttTanak)/Ott Tanak/Twitter.

WRC Safari Rally Programme

Tuesday, June 20

7:00-17:00: Reconnaissance Day 2 (Route)

13:30-20:00: Scrutineering/component sealing for all other competitors (Service Park)

19:00: Drivers’ Safety Briefing—mandatory for all drivers and co-drivers participating in their first WRC event in 2023

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

10:01 - 11:30: Shakedown -P1 and invited competitors (Loldia)

11:31 - 13:00   Shakedown- all priority competitors (Loldia)

13:01 - 14:00: Shakedown- non-priority competitors (Loldia)

1400: FIA pre-rally press conference (Media Centre)

Thursday, June 22, 2023

10:00 Reconnaissance of SSS 1 (Kasarani)

12:46: Ceremonial Start (Uhuru Park)

14:05: Super Special (Kasarani)

Friday, June 23

Loldia, Geothermal, Kedong (Loop To Be Repeated)

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Soysambu, Elementeita, Sleeping Warrior (Loop To Be Repeated)

Sunday,  June 25, 2023

Malewa, Oserian, Hell’s Gate (Loop To Be Repeated)

14:15: Wolf Power Stage(Hell’s Gate 2)

16:00: Finish Podium Ceremony (Service Park)

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