Safari Rally fans will from June 23 to 26 get a chance to see legend Sébastien Loeb in the flesh, despite his retirement from participating full-time in the World Rally Championships (WRC).
Why I am so eager to take part in Safari Rally - Sébastien Loeb
Loeb is a nine-time world champion
Loeb is set to line-up alongside four drivers part of the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team. Craig Breen, Gus Greensmith and Adrien Fourmaux in a fleet of hybrid-powered Puma Rally1 machines, while Greek driver Jourdan Serderidis will also pilot an additional car.
“Kenya is quite amazing; I think it’s the rally from where I have the most memories. In 2002, the rally was very different. The longest stage was 120km long and we all had a helicopter over our cars announcing all the wildlife that we were approaching on the stage, Loeb told WRC in an interview.
The Frenchman missed out on last year’s adventure, but he was there 19 years ago in 2002. The 48-year-old the only driver on the grid to have participated in 2002, remarked on the differences between then and now.
“Now it’s very different and it’s more like a typical WRC rally, but the difference for me, compared to Portugal, is that I have no experience of these stages. It is always much more complicated when you arrive to a rally where you have never done the stages before. It will not make it easy, but I am really happy to be going,” he added.
With only ten days to go to the start of the Safari Rally, WRC released the official list of top-tier Rally 1 drivers as well as the WRC 2 and WRC 3 set to take part in one of if not the most difficult rally.
A total of 12 top-tier drivers will line up in their respective Rally 1 cars. Aside from the 12 top-tier drivers, Naivasha will play host to 10 cars in the WRC 2 premier support category. WRC 3 cars are also well-represented, with five Rally 3-specification cars featured.