President Uhuru Kenyatta awarded Sebastian Ogier, the 2020 World Rally Championship winner and his navigator Julien Ingrassia in Naivasha. The seven-time world rally champion recovered from a suspension trouble on Friday to clinch victory on the final day.
He landed an advantage when event leader Thierry Neuville’s hopes of winning came to an end after breaking his Hyundai i20 suspension in Sunday’s morning stage.
Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta showcased a good run to winning as the rally lead, but that was surpassed by Ogier who won the two final stages on Sunday.
Ogier finally claimed victory by 21.8 seconds, becoming the first Safari Rally winner as the event celebrated its return to the World Rally Championship after a 18-year hiatus.
Commenting on his win, Ogier said, “It has 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.”
Japanese Takamoto Katsuta was finished second overall for his maiden world rally championship podium after an impressive overall run.
Hyundai’s Ott Tanak came in third position despite a series of mishaps throughout the event.
Ogier now extends his lead in the championship standings to 133 points. This is 33 points ahead of his teammate Elfyn Evans.
Kenyan drivers also clocked impressive results. Kenya’s Onkar Rai hang on to his class lead to finish seventh overall and win the WRC3 class. Karan Patel was second and Carl Tundo in third. Kenya’s Tejveer Rai rolled over and broke his leg on day 2 of the competition.
This year’s Safari Rally begun on 24th June and ended on 27th June, with 58 rally drivers including 34 Kenyan racers competing for the title of World Rally Champion.