Safari Rally Kenya Preview: WRC1

June 22, 2023Joe Moore

The 2023 World Rally Championship season continues this weekend with round seven Safari Rally Kenya.

Drivers’ Championship Rundown

Kalle Rovanperä (FIN) Of team TOYOTA GAZOO RACING WRT is seen during the World Rally Championship Kenya in Naivasha, Kenya on 21 June, 2023 // Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool

Reigning World Rally Champion Kalle Rovanperä leads the 2023 Driver’s’ Championship currently. Rovanperä sits 25 points ahead of Thierry Neuville heading into Safari Rally Kenya. Ott Tänak sits third in the championship, eight points behind his former teammate. Elfyn Evans sits fourth in the championship, three points behind Tänak. Sebastien Ogier rounds out the top five in the championship, sitting 13 points behind Evans. The 2023 Drivers’ Championship is still a tight battle, as 25 points isn’t all that much. By Safari Rally Kenya last season we kinda already knew who was going to win the championship. This season we really don’t, Neuville still has a chance to take home his first, and Hyundai’s first drivers’ championship. Tänak also still has a chance to take home another championship. Chances are Rovanperä will win his second championship this season, but anything is possible.

Manufactures’ Championship Rundown

Elfyn Evans (GB) Scott Martin (GB) Of team TOYOTA GAZOO RACING WRT are seen racing during the World Rally Championship Kenya in Naivasha, Kenya on 21 June, 2023 // Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool

The Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team currently leads this year’s Manufactures’ Championship. Toyota currently sits 23 points ahead of the Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team heading into this weekend. The M-Sport Ford World Rally team currently sits 64 points behind Hyundai. M-Sport Ford will have a tough time getting back into the race for the Manufactures’ Championship, as they only have two drivers competing for points and one of them is regularly below fifth place. 


Safari Rally Kenya will see drivers race 19 stages totalling 356.98 kilometres. Throughout these 356.98km drivers will face a multitude of challenges, with the biggest being weather. One rainfall turns the dry Kenyan roads into a muddy mess. Teams and drivers know this all too well, as it happened last year. Safari Rally Kenya is probably the most difficult challenge for drivers, as if it does rain the rally turns into a drive to survive. The first day of the rally will see drivers compete in a 4.84km SuperSpecial. On the second day, drivers will be met with six stages, totalling 125.54km. Day three will see drivers face six more stages, totalling 150.88km. The fourth and final day will see drivers compete in six stages once again, this time totalling 75.72km.