Kenya’s famed Safari rally is making a comeback at home after a 19-year wait. The race has earned a reputation as the toughest event on the World Rally Championship calendar.
Riders have to cover enormous distances in arduous condition. This year it begins from Friday June 25 till Sunday June 27.
"So part of our preparations is stripping down the car, taking out the entire drive train to just go through item by item, to make sure everything is spick and span", said Greenlife Rally team driver, Evans Kavisi.
Kenya’s Safari rally is the 6th round of the 2021 World Rally Championship. In this edition, the event has attracted 58 entrants from across the world.
The last time Kenya took part in the World Rally Championship was in 2002. And so it is no wonder that locals are enthusiastic about the showdown on Kenyan soil once again.
"For us this are exciting times. It’s like the Olympics, that’s the only way I can put it, in fact I feel it’s bigger than the Olympics for us. It’s one of those privileges in motorsport for you to be able to rally, and rally with the best and be able to compare yourself against the best, it’s a ridiculously beautiful feeling", Kavisi added.
This week’s event is made up of 18 stages spanning four days. The Great Rift Valley and Lake Naivasha will be the base for this tough challenge. And local drivers are surely up for another exciting adventure.
"I don`t want to put a lot of pressure on myself. My plan is just to finish the rally, at whatever position. Of course I try to be competitive", said Batika rally team driver, Andrew Muirui.
And it seems that after all these years, locals continue to hold fond memories of the game. Like Edwin Jnor, a Betika Rally team navigator.
"I have a childhood memory that I have to do, I was a small boy, the cars used to pass in Ruaka. I remember I woke up early, went to see them, coming back my dad gave me a good beating. Now you know what? We are passing through Ruaka and I will be in the seat so it’s a good feeling", he said.
On Thursday, President Uhuru Kenyatta flagged off the 2021 World Rally Championship in Nairobi. The Rally will finish at the foot of Mount Kenya Sunday.