When the FIA World Rally Championship Safari Rally Kenya begins in Naivasha later this month, reigning Kenyan Champion Karan Patel is anticipated to give home supporters enough to cheer about.
The head driver of the KCB racing team is one of the 13 participants named in the elite support WRC2 category, which has historically been the domain of Rally 2 marques in the FIA Rally Pyramid.
Karan was one of the three Kenyan drivers that earned the historic WRC points in 2021, finishing in a respectable eighth place overall (second in WRC3), behind Onkar Rai in seventh and Carl “Flash” Tundo in ninth. Karan did not place in the 2022 edition of Safari.
A strong lineup with 10 starters in the main Rally1 category will be present at this year’s Safari.
The three-car KCB lineup for the 2023 WRC Safari Rally includes Karan, Evans Kavisi, and Nikhil Sachania. KCB is the event’s official banking partner. The Government of Kenya (GOK), which is the primary sponsor, and Talanta Hela, KWS, Toyota Kenya, are other sponsors.
This year’s Safari will begin on June 21 at KWS Naivasha with the Shakedown, when priority 1 vehicles will get the opportunity to warm up their engines in advance of the action on June 22, and it will conclude on June 25 with the Wolf Power Stage spectacular at Hell’s Gate.
Along with Karan’s Ford Fiesta Rally2, other drivers listed in the 13-car WRC2 entry include Oliver Solberg in a Skoda Fabia Evo Rally, Polish driver Kajetan Kajetanowicz in a Skoda Fabia RS Rally, and Grégoire Munster (Ford).
11 (20) Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson -SWE/GBR (Skoda Fabia Evo Rally2)
12 (21) Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak-POL/POL (SKODA Fabia Evo Rally2)
13 (22 )M-SPORT FORD WRT: Grégoire Munster/Louis Louka-LUX/BEL- (Ford Fiesta Mk II Rally2
14 (23) Martin Prokop/Zdeněk Jůrka -CZE/CZE -(FORD Fiesta Mk II Rally2)
15 (24) Armin Kremer/Timo Gottschalk-DEU/DEU-Skoda Fabia Evo Rally2)
16 (25) Karan Patel/Tauseef Khan-KEN/KEN-FORD Fiesta Rally2)
17 (26) Carl Tundo/Tim Jessop-KEN/KEN (Skoda Fabia Rally2)
18 (27) Daniel Chwist/Kamil Heller -POL/POL- (Skoda Fabia RS Rally2)
19 (28) Miguel Díaz Aboitiz/Rodrigo Sanjuan -ESP/ESP- (Skoda Fabia Evo Rally2)
20 (29) M-SPORT FORD WRT: Georgios Vasilakis/Thomas Krawszik-GRC/GBR- (Ford Fiesta Mk II Rally2)
21 (30 ) Aakif Virani/Azhar Bhatti-KEN/KEN (SKODA Fabia Rally2)
22 (31) Piero Canobbio/Flavio Zanella -KEN/ITA (HYUNDAI NG i20)
The event will be beamed live and exclusively on KBC Channel 1 from 22nd -25th June,with flag off set for Uhuru Park on the 22nd of this month before drivers heading to Kasarani Super Special Stage in the only head to head competion’s stage.