For two years in a row, the soft compound gravel tyre is the only choice for the whole rally weekend

Even if, for the moment only slightly, the move to a March date increases the risk of rain which could make the event even harder, with deeper ruts increasing the risk from rocks

Testoni: “The softs have always proved very reliable in Kenya and once again this year they will demonstrate their combination of resilience and performance”

The Safari Kenya Rally, the third round of the season and the first on gravel returns to its traditional end of March date. This change alone is enough to make a rally which already throws up plenty of unknowns, even more unpredictable because of the greater chance of rain, which was a factor in last year’s event. At the moment, the weather forecast does not give cause for too much concern on this front: rainfall is expected mainly in the afternoon and is unlikely to be as heavy as feared. The resilient and reliable soft compound Scorpion KX WRC SA will once again provide reassurance for the drivers, nominated as the prime for this event. It is actually the only specification used by all the drivers in the past two editions.

The pitfalls of the African rally are by now well known: slippery surfaces, along with rocks, bumps and deep ruts which means that resilience rather than performance is the quality that is valued most from both the cars and the tyres. Neither can one underestimate the perils of the “fesh fesh,” the very fine sand in which a car can easily sink. All these dangers linked to the road surface become even trickier to deal with when it rains. In these conditions the roads get even more slippery and muddy and the rocks become more exposed, thus doing more damage, while increasing the risk of cars getting bogged down, as well as leading to a reduction in grip levels.

Even in the worst-case scenario, the soft compound Scorpion KX RWC SA is the most suitable choice, being designed to ensure grip in the most slippery conditions and in the wet, offering the right balance of performance and resilience as already demonstrated on other rallies. The hard compound Scorpion KX WRC HA is the option tyre, suited to more abrasive surfaces and longer stages.

As per the regulations, the allocation allows for 28 prime tyres and 8 option. A crew can choose to increase the number of option tyres to 12, in which case the prime allocation is reduced by 4.

As for the other categories in Kenya, the Rally2 cars can use the Scorpion K6B tyre (soft) and the K4B (hard), while Rally3 have available the K6A (soft) and K4A (hard). For these car categories, the allocation is 26 and 8 tyres for the prime and option respectively. The crews can choose to increase the latter to 12 while reducing the prime by 4.

Terenzio Testoni, Pirelli Rally activity manager: “The Scorpion SA have proved to be very versatile over the years in Kenya and other rallies. They are designed to ensure both grip and impact resistance, with a construction that is neither too soft to stand up to the severe demands of the event, nor too rigid which would damage the suspension. It is important for the drivers to tackle the Safari Rally for what it is, namely an event where endurance is more important than speed, unlike any other rally on the calendar.”