The diverse and spectacular nature of the FIA World Rally Championship will be highlighted to the full in Africa next week (March 27-31) with the 72nd Safari Rally Kenya marking the third event of an increasingly exciting WRC season.

Just three points separate the top two drivers, Thierry Neuville and Elfyn Evans, in the provisional standings, while the lead of the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers is shared by Hyundai and Toyota. M-Sport Ford has taken a podium finish in 2024 to underline the strong competition among the Rally1 contenders in the FIA WRC.

Since its eagerly anticipated return to the FIA WRC calendar in 2021, Safari Rally Kenya has run in June. However, it’s back in its traditional Easter weekend slot for 2024 and is therefore the first gravel-based round of the year. 

It also coincides with Kenya’s rainy season, which means the threat of downpours is ever present. For an event ranked as one of the most challenging on the calendar, that prospect only adds to the task in store for the FIA WRC drivers and their teams as they negotiate the stunning East African terrain.

The predominantly clay-based roads become extremely slippery in the wet but the searing ambient and ground temperatures mean it’s not long before they dry. So, while road clearing is less of a factor on Safari Rally Kenya as it is on other loose-surface rounds of the FIA WRC season, the high chance of rain puts a firm focus on the start order for each leg. 

FIA Vice-President for Sport Africa and FIA World Motor Sport Council member Rodrigo Rocha will be attendance during Safari Rally Kenya. 

Meanwhile, Pirelli, the FIA WRC’s official tyre suppler, is providing its Scorpion KX tyre in soft and hard compounds to all Rally1 cars. The soft compound is the first choice for damp conditions with the hard option available for dry-weather running.


The FIA World Rally Championship stars and their cars will be challenged on 19 stages over a timed distance of 367.76 kilometres, a route that’s largely unchanged from 2023. 

Following the event-opening Super Special Kasarani in out-of-town Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, on Thursday March 28, the rally relocates to Lake Naivasha, its hub for the remaining three days of competition. 

Friday’s first full leg consists of three stages run either side of the Naivasha service halt. Kedong, SS4/SS7, features a new section in the Miti Mbili area and is run in a reverse direction compared to 2023. 

Saturday’s action is based around Lake Elmenteita north of Naivasha. The three repeated stages include Sleeping Warrior, now up to 36.08 kilometres from 31.04 and the longest of the rally after a new closing section of some seven kilometres was added. 

Sunday’s deciding leg begins with Malewa, which has been reduced from 9.00 kilometres in length to 8.33. The Oserengoni stage, titled Oserian last season, gets its name from the wildlife conservancy estate where it’s located. The 10.53-kilometre Hell’s Gate tests hosts the Wolf Power Stage from 14:15.


Stage distance:367.76 km
Total distance: 1267.57 km
Number of stages: 19


Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team: Provisional championship leader Thierry Neuville heads Hyundai’s bid for a first Safari Rally Kenya victory. He’s joined by Ott Tänak, the 2019 world champion, and Esapekka Lappi, the winner of Rally Sweden last month.

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team: Having scored his maiden WRC podium in Sweden, Adrien Fourmaux returns to the scene of his first FIA WRC stage win, a feat he achieved in 2021. Grégoire Munster and Jourdan Serderidis complete the line-up, which expands to three cars.

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT: Elfyn Evans leads Toyota’s Safari challenge with the Japanese manufacturer unbeaten on the event since it returned the FIA WRC schedule in 2021. Takamoto Katsuta, who claimed his first FIA WRC podium in Kenya in 2021, and 2022 Safari winner, the double world champion Kalle Rovanperä, join Evans at Toyota.


The FIA WRC2 Championship provides an opportunity for FIA African Rally Championship competitors to build their experience and showcase their skills on a global stage – while shining a spotlight on the FIA ARC. Two notable drivers flying the FIA ARC flag are Karan Patel (Škoda Fabia), the 2023 FIA ARC champion, and multiple Kenyan title winner and 2021 FIA ARC champion Carl Tundo  (Ford Fiesta).

Toksport WRT’s Oliver Solberg, at the wheel of a Škoda Faba RS, is joint first in the provisional FIA WRC2 standings after his Rally Sweden victory and is the top category seed ahead of Nicolas Ciamin, who makes his Safari Rally Kenya debut in a Hyundai i20 N.

Three-time FIA European Rally Championship winner Kajetan Kajetanowicz begins the defence of his FIA WRC2 Challenger crown on Safari Rally Kenya in a Škoda Fabia RS. 

Gus Greensmith, the 2023 FIA WRC runner-up, makes his first world championship appearance of the season in Kenya in a Toksport WRT-entered Škoda Fabia RS, as does Daniel Chwist (Škoda Fabia RS), whose grandfather, Sobiesław Zasada, won the FIA ERC title three times and made his last Safari Rally Kenya appearance in 2021 aged 91.

Diego Domínguez, second in the 2023 FIA Junior Championship, steps up to FIA WRC2 level for the first time in a Citroën C3, while Charles Munster (Hyundai i20 N) is Rally1 driver Grégoire Munster’s younger brother.

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