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Motor Sports

All set as 2022 WRC Safari Rally kicks off in Kenya

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  • The Rally is expected to run from the 23rd to the 26th of June, with over nineteen stages covering an estimated 225 miles (362 kilometers). 
  • This marks the 69th edition of Safari Rally and the event is the sixth round of the 2022 World Rally Championship, World Rally Championship-2, and World Rally Championship-3.
  • However, things could get muddy as the country gets into its second rainy season in late June. 

The WRC Safari Rally, with this year’s edition, dubbed the Safari Rally Kenya, kicked off officially on Thursday for a four-day off-road action-packed safari into the Kenyan wilderness with over 19 stages covering an estimated 225 miles (362 kilometers).

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President Uhuru Kenyatta during the flagging off of this years WRC Rally where he also announced that Kenya will continue hosting the World Rally Championship for the next five years as per the sealed agreement with the International Automobile Federation (FIA) where. Picture Courtesy Statehouse Kenya/Twitter

The Rally that was flagged by President Kenyatta officially kicked off at the monumental KICC (Kenyatta International Conference Center). The drivers will have a short two-at-a-time sprint to the Moi International Sports Stadium Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, City, before flooring their racers 100 kilometers which is equivalent to 62 miles to the wildlife game reserve town of Naivasha, where the event takes place.

This marks the 69th edition of Safari Rally and the event is the sixth round of the 2022 World Rally Championship, World Rally Championship-2, and World Rally Championship-3.

The drivers had an opportunity to hold a dry-run to familiarize themselves with the African rally terrain on Wednesday morning through a shakedown session before the event officially flagged off with a lot of drivers anticipating a more arduous track this year.

“We had our first proper taste of a real Safari stage this morning over the 5.4-kilometer shakedown. It was a really enjoyable run, but a puncture on the second pass cost us some time,” Craig Breen, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team driver, said.

The 2021 WRC Safari Rally winner, Sebastien Ogier, told WRC seems tougher compared to previous rallies that he has participated in and that he was not expecting such a rough condition

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Sebastian Ogier sharing a lite moment at the sideline of the WRC Rally Photo Sebastian Ogier/Twitter

“It seems that this year the rally will be even tougher. I was not expecting such rough conditions as we saw on the recce, and the roads are even softer than last year,” he explained.

During the last year’s event, Ogier clinched the top spot driving a GR-Yaris before his teammate Kalle Rovanpera posted the benchmark time on the second run.

What’s new for WRC in 2022?

Among the newest features that have been featured in this year’s WRC is the introduction of the new Rally1 regulations which are designed to move the WRC into a more sustainable future and attract new manufacturers.

This has led to Hyundai, Toyota, and M-Sport Ford coming up with newer and safer steel space frame chassis.

Ogier

2022 FIA World Rally Championship / Round 06 / Safari Rally Kenya 2022 / 22nd-68th June, 2022 // Worldwide Copyright: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

There has also been an introduction of a mandatory 100kW hybrid unit coupled to the 1.6-litre turbocharged internal combustion engine, which has only key components carried over from the previous generation of cars and this will allow the powertrain to develop 500bhp to be used in short bursts across every stage.

Cars sizes will be up to 70kg heavier than their predecessors and this is mainly due to the addition of the hybrid system meaning Rally1 machines will weigh in at approximately 1260kg.

The new regulations have effectively abolished extra aerodynamic devices such as wings and flicks being added to the bodywork outside of the front splitter and rear wing. The overall downforce created and its effect on the car has been reduced by approximately 15% compared to the previous generation of the vehicle.

Trickcentere differentials used to fine-tune handling are now banned in favor of simpler front and rear mechanical limited-slip differentials offering a fixed 50:50 torque split between the front and rear wheels. Suspension travel has been reduced to 270mm.

Elias Makokha is a professional Media Practitioner venturing into Corporate Communications, Radio Broadcast and Digital content creation with a keen interest in videography, photography and online Writing. He works well individually and collaboratively with his juniors, peers and seniors. He adheres to the hallmarks of journalism and accurately reports by conducting fact checks from reputable sources before publishing.

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