The 2022 World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally was launched yesterday, 23rd June, 2022, by HE President Uhuru Kenyatta at the KICC in Nairobi. This year’s racing list contains 12 top-tier Rally1 cars as well as 10 cars in the WRC2 premier support category. WRC3 cars also have representation, with 5 Rally3 specification cars featured. A total of 34 drivers have been confirmed to participate in the 3 day competition ending 26th June.
This year’s race has attracted top talent in Motorsport including last year’s Safari Rally winner Sebastien Ogier, who also took an early lead in yesterday’s special race at Kasarani, Nairobi.
7 Kenyan drivers will represent the country in the WRC2 and WRC3 categories of the competition. Of the seven, four drivers are part of the FIA Rally Star Programme, a global initiative aimed to train talented young drivers of between 17-27 years.
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All the four young drivers sponsored by Safaricom and Kenya Airways will feature in MSport Ford Fiesta machines during the ongoing WRC Safari Rally event.
Listed below are the 7 drivers representing Kenya in the 2022 WRC Safari Rally in Naivasha.
Coming from a Motorsport family background, Aakif began sharpening his racing skills when he was a young boy, with hopes of building on the family’s heritage. Last year, Aakif clocked an impressive finish time to finish 5th in the WRC3 category. Prior to that, he had finished first in the B13 category and third in Division 1 in 2018.
This year, he hopes to have a podium finish in Naivasha, urging Kenyans to show up in large numbers to support the local drivers.
After winning the home round of the African Rally Championship earlier this year, 30 year-old Karan Patel bis hoping to achieve similar success in the 2022 WRC2 category. Patel and co-driver Tauseef Khan will compete in a Ford Fiesta as they try to beat their 8th overall finish position clocked in the WRC3 category last year.
Amanraaj Singh Rai
Amanraaj Rai is a professional Kenyan rally driver, representing the country in multiple international championships. In WRC Safari Rally 2021, he took 20th place overall, after suffering a serious car accident on the track. Rai ranks 138th of the World Championship in Rally.
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FIA Young Star program driver McRae Kimathi is looing to improve his standings after taking part in several Junior World Championships. Last year, the 26 year old put on a strong show throughout the grueling course but had to retire his vehicle in the final stage due to a mechanical problem.
Last year, 22 year-old Hamza Anwar finished 25th overall. Hamza comes from a strong rally heritage. His father Asad Anwar and uncle Azar Anwar are both known for their rally exploits. This year, he is hoping to clock better winning time, noting that his main strategy will be to avoid any accidents.
In the WRC Safari Rally event last June, 22-year old Jeremy Wahome driving an M-Sport Fiesta Rally 3, finished in 16th place in his first-ever rally event. He was able surpass more experienced drivers in one of the toughest WRC events.
Jeremy Wahome’s younger sister, Maxine, popularly known as the riding queen for her prowess in the motorsport, has successfully participated in multiple national rally and autocross events. She also participated in the WRC Safari Rally, Voi Rally, Machakos Rally and autocross events in Mombasa and Nairobi..
Maxine made her rallying debut in the World Rally Championship Safari Rally last year in a Subaru Impreza. This year, however, she will compete with a Ford Fiesta in a bid to better her results.
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