The concerns about rain proved to be unfounded, but stones made all sections very treacherous

Kalle Rovanpera won with a careful drive, dominating right from the start

Testoni: “It’s a one-of-a-kind rally, rewarding those who focus on consistency and precision rather than outright performance”

It was expected to be a tougher rally than usual because of rain, but actually, its difficulty came down to very different causes, with plenty of twists and turns, although the rally leader was never in doubt. In fact, Toyota confirmed its mastery of the event with this its fourth straight win on the Safari Rally Kenya, with Kalle Rovanpera victorious, overcoming the unpredictable dirt roads through the savannah, ahead of team-mate Takamoto Katsuta, with Ford’s Adrian Forneaux coming home third. Once again, the Scorpion KX WRC was the only tyre used by all crews over all three days. In the Super Sunday stages, which provide added points for the Championship rankings, Ott Tanak (Hyundai) came out on top, beating team-mate Thierry Neuville (who won the powerstage) and Elfyn Evans (Toyota) who threw caution to the winds, to ensure the competition was very close and, at times, spectacular.

These were the main features of the 2024 Safari Rally, generally the most demanding event since its return to the world championship calendar in 2021:

  • Very high speeds, despite the very bumpy road surface, which also changed considerably as more and more cars ran through the stages;
  • A large quantity of loose stones, some of them actual boulders, which combined with the speed, really put cars and tyres to the test, that led to almost all crews reporting damage
  • Very slippery terrain, made even trickier because of the inevitable fesh-fesh
  • Saturday proved to be the trickiest day of the weekend, while the most demanding of all the stages were the first and third on both Friday and Saturday, especially the iconic Kedong (31km) and Sleeping Warrior (36 km)
  • Generally high tyre stress and wear
  • A common tyre strategy for all teams, who once again used only the prime soft compound, even if there were times when the surface was almost suitable for the option hard compound
  • There was rain, but much less than feared prior to the event and it had no effect on the consistency of the road surface nor on the way the rally unfolded.

Terenzio Testoni, Pirelli Rally activity manager: “The Safari Rally confirmed its unique nature, not comparable to any other rounds of the world championship, with its own set of characteristics and difficulties, even if this year those difficulties were of a different nature and tougher than in previous years, because of the very high number of stones on the route. However, in the end, as usual the win went to the crew who reported no problems with either the car or the tyres, confirming that a steady pace and paying careful attention to the road pays off more than outright performance. For our part, we have again gathered invaluable data, which will be useful in the future for all the rally categories in which we will continue to be involved.”

In RC2, where the cars inevitably suffered heavily from the rapid deterioration of the stage surface, because of their running order on the road, Gus Greensmith won from Oliver Solberg, both at the wheel of the Skoda Fabia Rally2.

Below, a graphic summary of Safari Rally Kenya: