McRae Kimathi, Kenya’s rising star in the world of rallying, delivered an impressive performance at the prestigious 2023 WRC Safari Rally concluded yesterday in Naivasha.
With a remarkable time of 5:43:54.7, the Safaricom-sponsored Kimathi secured a commendable third place in the highly competitive WRC3 category, earning him 20th position overall. This is an improvement from his last year’s performance, where he finished 23rd at a time of 5:55:59:9.
The first position in the WRC3 category was taken by Domínguez Diego Jr, while second position by Bailey Jason after clocked 4:37:57.1 and 5:33:05.9, respectively.
“I am thrilled to have finished and secured third place in the WRC3 category. This was one of the toughest rallies I have experienced, and I would like to thank our sponsors Safaricom and Kenya Airways for their support and belief in us. We promised to deliver, and indeed we have done our best. This achievement motivates me to continue pushing my limits and striving for excellence in every rally as I now turn my focus to KNRC.” Said McRae Kimathi
Other Kenyan youngsters in the FIA Rally Star program sponsored by Safaricom included Jeremiah Wahome and Hamza Anwar who unfortunately retired before finishing their races due to mechanical problems. McRae was navigated by Kioni Mwangi.
Meanwhile, the 2023 WRC Safari Rally also saw French rally driver Sébastien Ogier reclaim his title in the senior category (WRC1) and overall, after a hard-fought battle with defending champion Kalle Rovanperä of Finland.
Ogier, navigated by Vincent Landias clocked 3:30:42.5 to finish ahead of the Finnish teammate with a 6.7 seconds advantage. Rovanpera navigated by Jonne Haulttunen timed 3:30:49.2 to settle for second while Elfyn Evans completed the podium in 3:33.41. A similar Toyota GR Yaris of Elfyn Evans and Katsuta Takamoto was placed third and fourth overall after clocking 3:33:41.0 and 3:34:06.3 respectively.
Meanwhile, Carl “Flash” Tundo, navigated by Jessop Tim, led the Kenyan team, finishing 4th in WRC2 category and 12th position overall with a time of 4:11:38.6.
This year, Safaricom’s mobile-money service, M-PESA, committed KES 25 million to support the WRC Safari Rally FIA Rally Star Programme. The FIA Rally Star programme is a global initiative aimed at identifying, training, and developing talented young drivers aged between 17 and 28 years.