It was a powerful weekend at the WRC 2021 Safari Rally Kenya which was making a comeback after 19 years. The various stages saw a spectacular display of motorsport prowess in the beautiful backdrop of the Kenyan wild. The weekend was spectacular and fans flocked from all over the world to witness the picturesque Safari Rally 2021.
Sebastian Ogier Takes Rally Lead
Sebastian Ogier emerged as the overall Safari Rally winner, followed by his teammate Takamoto Katsuta. Both drivers were driving Toyota Yaris’ which proved to be the best vehicles in the rally. Toyota took the manufacturer’s top spot owing to the win by the two race leaders, followed by Hyundai and M-Sport Ford. Ott Tanak came in at third place, followed by Gus Greensmith and Adrien Fourmaux who came in at fourth and fifth place consecutively. The two are part of the M-Sport Ford team and are twins.
Kalle Rovanpera came in sixth driving a Toyota Yaris. Seventh and eighth place went to Kenyan drivers Onkar Rai and Karan Patel. The FIA World Rally Championship was a dream come true for fans and allowed them to discover the beauty and adventure of Kenya. Kenyan drivers did quite well on their home turf. Onkar Rai won the WRC3 category while Carl Tundo was ninth overall in the Safari Rally standings.
Rally in the Wild: Thierry Neuville Crashes Out Due to a Rock Hit
The WRC rally was a tough rally with dusty and rocky courses. As a result, some drivers crashed out, including Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville who crashed out after hitting a rock and wrecking his rear right bumper. Neuville was driving a Hyundai i20 and was having quite a spectacular race winning all but two rounds. His unfortunate crash out in Sunday’s opening test was very unfortunate and marks a third consecutive rally weekend flop. Out of Neuville’s woes, Sebastian Ogier was able to capitalize and took the overall Safari rally lead, marking his fourth win of the season.
Wonderful Race for Fan Favorite Takamoto Katsuka
Takamoto Katsuka, on the other hand, did a fantastic job and had his first podium finish coming in at second place in the rally. Katsuka was a fan favorite and thrilled the crowds in Naivasha with his speed and racing fury. He led some of the group stages doing his best to keep Ogier at bay. Sebastian Ogier came first in the Driver’s Championship with 133 points, followed by Elfyn Evans, who was also driving a Toyota Yaris, with 99 points, while Thierry Neuville came third with 77 points.
WRC Safari Rally Kenya 2021 A Huge Success
Ott Tanak had a great rally weekend and was quickly closing in on Katsuka but was derailed by the rain having to stop to clear his windscreen. He lost two minutes leaving Katsuka 47.7 seconds ahead of him. The M-Sport twins on the other hand played it safe and it paid off for them with Fourmaux, also French, celebrating his first top-level stage win.
10-Second Penalty for Formaux
He was however handed a 10-second penalty post-rally leaving him with just a tenth split from his teammate. The WRC 2021 Safari Rally was a huge success so much so that Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that the Safari Rally would be extended from a 3-year to a 5-year event for the country. Consequently, the WRC Safari Rally will return to Kenya every year until 2026.