M-Sport Ford youngster Pierre-Louis Loubet will look to put a tough first half of the season behind him when he makes his Safari Rally Kenya debut next week (22 – 25 June)
The Corsican star arrived into his first full season at rallying’s highest level chasing a maiden podium, having twice finished fourth aboard a Puma Rally1 Hybrid in 2022, and is looking forward to delivering on that potential in the coming events.
Loubet had been sitting third overall at the previous round in Italy but plummeted down the order after incurring time penalties when he struggled to engage any gears prior to SS5. Damaged steering caused him to go off the road later in the opening day.
“It has been tough,” said Loubet. “After Sardinia, it was time for me to make a refocus and a reset to get ready for Kenya. It’s exciting to go to the Safari Rally for the first time. It’s fair to say the results we had so far were not what we were hoping for – in Sardinia things were working really nicely on the first day even in some tough conditions.
“We will focus on the next one.”
Loubet heads to Naivasha confident in the knowledge his best results have come on rough gravel rallies, with those fourth places coming in Greece and Italy last year.
M-Sport team principal Richard Millener echoed those thoughts, adding: “Sardinia was a tough one for the whole team – everybody in the team is trying so hard right now, but we’re just not getting any luck. We’ll bounce back next week, this championship’s absolutely not over and we’re not about to give up.”
Arguably the most anticipated event on the World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar, Safari Rally Kenya once again is ready to throw up one of the most unpredictable events on the WRC calendar.
The event which will always be one of the most epic adventures to grace the FIA WRC lived up to its reputation during the last edition as one of the world’s iconic motorsport events.
Rocky and sandy gravel tracks around Lakes Naivasha and Elmenteita proved brutal, while stunning scenery, exotic wildlife and enthusiastic locals portrayed Africa at its best.
The unremitting roads cut a swathe through the big guns, ruling out the likes of Sébastien Loeb, who stopped on day one with fire billowing from his Puma’s engine bay.