Frenchman Sébastien Ogier has described his nerve-racking WRC Safari Rally Kenya win as one of his career finest even as President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that WRC Safari Rally is here to stay.
The seven-times reigning champion had his campaign effectively sewn up after long-time leader Thierry Neuville suffered suspension problems in the Sunday morning Loldia speed test. Neuville’s Hyundai i20 clouted a rock smashing the right rear damper.
On his way up, Ogier demoted Toyota Yaris team-mate Takamoto Katsuta from the summit in the penultimate Loldia 2 stage to clinch the iconic Safari title by 21.8seconds, incidentally on its return to the FIA World Rally Championship after a 19-year hiatus.
Ogier clawed his way up the order from seventh on Friday after suffering suspension troubles. Ogier’s fourth win in six rounds extended his lead to 34-points at the midpoint of the season.
“After our troubles on Friday, we had a really good weekend, really good pace,” said Ogier. “It’s been an amazing experience to be here. The support we got from the local people was incredible. It might be a bit shorter than the old days, but the challenge is still very tough.”
The Safari lived up to its reputation as one of the world’s iconic motorsport events with rocky and sandy gravel tracks around Lakes Naivasha and Elementaita in the Great Rift Valley providing the brutal test.