Safari Rally Kenya Preview: Rally1

March 27, 2024Joe Moore

The 2024 World Rally Championship season continues next weekend with round three, Safari Rally Kenya. 

Championship Rundown

Thierry Neuville holds the championship lead heading into Safari Rally Kenya. Neuville now holds a three-point lead over Elfyn Evans. Adrien Fourmaux sits third in the championship after a strong first two events of the season. Fourmaux sits 16 points behind Evans. Sebastien Ogier moves down to fourth in the championship after Rally Sweden. This isn’t a surprise as the 8-time World Rally Champion didn’t contest Rally Sweden last month and will once again be absent in Kenya. Ogier sits five points behind fellow countryman Fourmaux. Ott Tänak rounds out the top five in the championship, with the Estonian sitting just three points behind Ogier. 

Team Rundowns 

Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 

Hyundai is having arguably their best season since they returned to the WRC in 2013. As the Korean manufacturer is two-for-two to start the season off. As Thierry Neuville took the win in Monte-Carlo and Esapekka Lappi in Sweden. The team likely won’t win Safari Rally Kenya however. As the team’s best result was third back in 2021. Thierry Neuville, Ott Tänak and Esapekka Lappi will look to improve on that result this year. However, they will have to fend off a trio of Toyota drivers. 

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 

Toyota has won every edition of Safari Rally Kenya since the event returned in 2021. Sebastien Ogier has won the event twice, while Kalle Rovanperä has won it once. Ogier won’t be attending this weekend as previously mentioned. Toyota has swept the podium the last two times at the event. The team will look to lock out the podium once again this year. It’ll be a tough task for Kalle Rovanperä, Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta, who will have no safety net driver like they’ve had the last two years. Luckily for them, they drive the most reliable car in the championship. It’s also a car that hasn’t had many issues in Kenya. 

M-Sport Ford WRT 

M-Sport heads into Safari Kenya with two strong events under their belts. As Adrien Fourmaux has shocked many to start the season. As the Frenchman sits third in the championship heading into round three. While Grégoire Munster had a good showing in Monte-Carlo until his car got stuck. Munster had a worse showing in Sweden. Fourmuax is expected to drop off a little at the season’s toughest event. However, as previously mentioned, Fourmaux has done nothing but smash expectations this season. 

What To Expect 

The Safari Rally is known for being unforgiving. As weather conditions and as a result road conditions are ever-changing. Drivers will contest 19 stages over the four-day event. The event will kick off with one SuperSpecial stage on Thursday, which totals to 4.84 km. The second day is where the action really begins. As drivers will contest 125.82 km across 6 stages. Day three will see 150.88 km of stages across another 6 stages. To cap off the third event of the season drivers will contest 74.38 km across 6 stages on the fourth day.