After a 19-year absence, the Safari Rally returned to Kenya. First held in 1953, it grew to be one of the premiere tests of will between man/woman and machine against an unforgiving terrain that inspired awe and tested machines rigorously. In an exciting 3 days full of twists and turns of the 18-stage event, some top drivers were knocked out and some vehicles crumpled under the tough Kenyan topography but as we say in Kenya “Hakuna matata” – “There is no problem.” The technical and safety issues that had led Kenya to be locked out of the World Rally Championship calendar were resolved and thus the Safari Rally 2021 came into being. Held at Naivasha in the Rift Valley, a tourist and agricultural town known for flamingos and flowers, the rally provided the fun hospitality that Naivasha is known for. Frenchman Sebastian Ogier won the rally in his Toyota 21.8 seconds ahead of his Toyota teammate Takamoto Katsuta with Estonian Hyundai driver Ott Tanak third. Ogier benefitted from the early retirement of overnight leader Thierry Neuville who broke one of his shock absorbers. In the Category 3 race, Kenyans Onkar Rai, Karan Patel and Carl “Flash” Tundo finished first, second and third positions respectively placing Kenya on the rallying map as a source of rallying talent.
The rally provided a chance for the world to see Kenya’s amazing flora and fauna as well as experience the amazing hospitality of Kenyans. Young children were inspired by the rallying action and possibly a future Kenyan WRC winner might emerge from one of the avid spectators of the Safari Rally. The determination and grit shown by the rallying crews is a pointer to us in how to handle challenging circumstances.
Viva Safari Rally.
Karibu Kenya – Welcome to Kenya.