French driver Pierre Louis Loubet is upbeat after finishing eighth during the shakedown of the 2023 WRC Safari Rally Championship held Wednesday at Loldia,Naivasha .
Louis was ranked behind winner Kalle Rovanpera.Ott Tanak and Sébastien Ogier wound up second and third respectively.
Louis had moments before the shakedown driven President William Ruto around the 5km warm up stage.
Asked about how he felt about the experience the 26 year old scion of former European Rally champion Yves Loubet said.
“ it was a very nice moment it was not a stressful at the beginning, then was told to drive 50 kph, I felt a sense of responsibility while I carried the President”, he remarked .
President Ruto asked by Loubet as they approached the finish if he did enjoy the rally the Head of State retorted.
“This thing is Perfect.great.”
Loubet kickstarted his tour earlier this week after an excursion meeting with men’s marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge.
“My close cousin is more than a big fan to him(Eliud Kipchoge) actually her idol ,I bring her the shoes back for her “, he said.
The ford m-sport team member feels that the preparations they have had including watching videos will be key in their performance on debut.
“It has been a lot of hard work we took a lot of time watching video coming here for the first time much more than usual”
Meanwhile defending champion Kale Rovanpera has hinted that he preferred wet weather conditions for the Safari.
“Last year it was wet I did well, I wouldn’t mind if it’s wet at some point especially if it’s when the roads are opening ,if it’s dry much then it’s ok.but if it’s like there’s no rain it’s not funny either”.
Safari Rally debutant and Hyundais Esapekka Lappi acknowledged that Hyundais manufacturers title win during Rally Sardegna in Italy had boosted their podium hopes heading into this weekends Safari .
“For sure it was very important for everyone in our team that we got thisbresult in Italy it did give a boost to every team member it was a good reward to them for what we had experienced this year,but we cannotrely on Sadinia we need to concentrate on how to perform well this weekend”.
Esapekka,Finnish, endured a tough afternoon after his car broke the prop shaft forcing him out.
On Thursday after ceremonial start at Uhuru Park the cars will head to Kasarani for the super special stage ,a two at a go duel that will cover a total of 4.84km.Both sessions will be broadcast on KBC Channel 1 TV.
This years Rally covers 356.98km across 19 gruelling stages.
Friday’s action will be held around Lake Naivasha with drivers competing for points at Loldia (19.17km) Geothermal (13.12km), and Kedong (30.48km) for a total of 125.54km.
Saturday the cars move to Soysambu,Sleeping Warrior and Elementaita for a total of 150.88km.
Three stages will be run on Sunday Malewa,Oserian and Hellsgate.