Rovanperä signs up for Kenya’s Safari Rally

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Reigning World Rally champion and titleholder Finnish driver Kalle Rovanperä is among the top international drivers who have confirmed their entry for Kenya's Safari Rally in June, reported Xinhua.

Entries for the rally that will run from June 23 to 26 opened this week with Toyota's Finnish star Rovanperä and his navigator Jonne Halitunen among the first to confirm they will take part in the seventh round of the 2023 World Rally Championship (WRC).

Toyota have already won in three of the four 2023 WRC rallies so far this year, in Monte Carlo, Mexico and Croatia.

France's Sebastien Ogier, who won in Kenya in 2021 and was victorious in Monte Carlo and Mexico this year, is the second Toyota driver to be entered in the Safari Rally to score WRC points, despite a limited competition programme this season.

Others are Briton Elfyn Evans, winner of last month's Rally Croatia, and Japan's Takamoto Katsuta, second here in 2021 driving a Toyota Yaris GR.

Ogier leads the 2023 championship with 69 points followed by Evans (69), Rovanpera (68) and Ott Tanak (65) ahead of the WRC Rally of Portugal next weekend.

Canada's Jason Bailey and James Willets will field a Ford Fiesta R3 to battle with the Kenya junior team.

Czech WRC and rally raid ace driver Martin Prokop, navigated by compatriot Zdenek Jurka in a Ford Fiesta MK1 R2, are the drivers to watch in the R2 category.

Prokop gave a good account of himself on day two of last year's Safari Rally, setting second and third fastest stage times twice and four times respectively before retiring with engine trouble with his Ford Fiesta R2.

Local ace Minesh Rathod, who will be co-driven by Britain's Jamie Mactavish in a Mitsubishi Lancer, is the first driver to register in the Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC), which will be part of the WRC Safari Rally.

The Safari Rally gets underway in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi and resort town of Naivasha, after being flagged off at Nairobi's Uhuru Park.

Rovanperä obliterated the FIA World Rally Championship record books after sealing a historic title with victory at Repco Rally New Zealand in October, 2022.

  •  Rovanperä
  •  Safari Rally
  •  Kenya


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