Big Safari Rally challenge awaits MacRae Kimathi on home soil

Big Safari Rally challenge awaits MacRae Kimathi on home soil
McRae Kimathi (left), Hamza Anwar and Jeremy Wahome are among the four Kenyan FIA Rally Stars entered for the Safari

He is bringing in plenty of experience from Sweden where he became the first Kenyan this year to ever complete a rally on snow. Other WRC legs he ventured on are Rally Croatia, Italy's Sardegna, and Portugal. 

FIA Rally Star McRae Kimathi is ready to rumble in the Naivasha jungle when the sixth leg of the World Rally Championship, the WRC Safari Rally Kenya, gets underway in the lakeside town on Friday.

Kimathi is one of four Kenyan FIA Rally Star drivers sponsored by Telecommunications company Safaricom and Africa’s leading Airline Kenya Airways (KQ). He is named after 1995 FIA World Rally Champion, Colin McRae, who became an icon to many Kenyans after taking three Safari Rally victories. 

The 27-year-old career accountant will be looking to conquer the WRC3 category after a stint in Europe that saw him rub shoulders with the crème de la crème of the sport.

He is bringing in plenty of experience from Sweden where he became the first Kenyan this year to ever complete a rally on snow. Other WRC legs he ventured on are Rally Croatia, Italy's Sardegna, and Portugal. 

“I’m still predicting that Safari Rally will be another tough one this year. Nonetheless, I am excited for my home event. It is always a great feeling revving in front of our wonderful fans,” said Kimathi, who will pilot one of the five M-Sport Ford Fiesta R3 machines listed in the iconic Kenyan fixture.

 In his spirited home turf campaign this week, Kimathi will be up against compatriots Hamza Anwar, Maxine Wahome, Jeremy Wahome and Paraguayan Diego Dominguez who completes the five-car WRC3 list.

Dominguez was well on course for WRC3 victory on Rally Italia Sardegna but only lost it due to eleventh-hour ECU gremlins. 

Until arriving in Scandinavia ahead of Rally Sweden, Kimathi had never seen snow or ice before and attended the John Haugland Winter Rally School to help with his preparations. 

The FIA Rally Star Programme is a global initiative that aims to identify, train and develop talented young drivers of between 17-27 years. 

This year’s WRC Safari Rally Kenya is sponsored by KCB Bank, Kenya Wildlife Service, Quickmart and Toyota Kenya among others.

WRC3 STANDINGS AFTER RALLY ITALIA SARDEGNA

1  FIN S. PAJARI  62 

2  CZE J. ČERNÝ  43

 3  HUN Z. LÁSZLÓ  43 

4  FIN L. JOONA  43

 5  ITA E. BRAZZOLI  33

6  IRL W. CREIGHTON  30 

7  KEN M. KIMATHI  30

8  HRV I. SILADIC  15 

9  PRY D. DOMINGUEZ  0