Hyundai's Tanak sets sights on elusive Safari Rally victory


MOTORSPORTS Hyundai's Tanak sets sights on elusive Safari Rally victory

Festus Chuma 12:45 - 23.03.2024

Otto Tanak is aiming at Safari Rally victory in Kenya after intensive preparations, focusing on car performance and high-altitude adjustments.

The 2019 World Rally champion Otto Tanak is gearing up for a significant challenge as he aims for victory at the upcoming Safari Rally in Naivasha, scheduled from March 28 to 31. 

Sponsored by KCB Bank Kenya and the Government of Kenya, this year's event promises to be as thrilling as ever, with Tanak more prepared than ever before to take on the demanding conditions of the iconic rally.

Having experienced the tough terrains of Naivasha's "Fesh Fesh" twice behind the wheel of a Hyundai i20, Tanak is no stranger to the rigors that the Safari Rally presents. 

Despite his previous attempts where he finished third in 2021 behind Sebastien Ogier and Takamoto Katsuta, faced retirement due to power steering issues in 2022, and secured a fourth-place finish in 2023, Tanak is reloaded and ready for another shot at the title that has eluded him so far.

"Safari Rally Kenya is a special challenge. To do well, you need endurance, especially as the weather can be unpredictable and the roads are very rough, so altogether it is very hard to win there. On the stages, it is a lot about the performance of the cars," Tanak expressed. 

The Estonian rally ace emphasized the importance of the car's performance on the challenging stages of the Safari Rally. 

"Of course, with the current Rally1 cars, there are places where you can’t be just fast and flat-out, but performance is still key," he added. 

His preparations included extensive testing in Spain, focusing on engine mapping adjustments to adapt to the high-altitude conditions expected in Kenya.

Tanak also highlighted the personal aspect of his journey to the Safari Rally. 

"At the last two rallies, we’ve been struggling with the engine mapping, so it was crucial to get to high altitude to help things feel more comfortable for Kenya. Personally, I’ve not managed to get into the groove yet this season and don’t have any strong results. I hope I can change that by keeping things clean and scoring well in this rally. I need to deliver," he concluded with determination.

With the Safari Rally fast approaching, Tanak's preparations, experience, and resolve are set to make him a formidable contender in the quest for the elusive title. 

Fans and competitors alike are eagerly anticipating the performance of the 2019 World Rally champion as he takes on the unique challenges that the Safari Rally offers, aiming to add this prestigious victory to his illustrious career.

Follow Pulse Sports WhatsApp channel for more news