Safari Rally winner Ogier advocates for adaptations to tackle unique challenges of Kenyan event

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MOTORSPORTS Safari Rally winner Ogier advocates for adaptations to tackle unique challenges of Kenyan event

Festus Chuma 12:00 - 02.07.2023

The eight-time world champion highlights the need for special features to tackle unique challenges.

2023 WRC Safari Rally champion Sebastien Ogier has voiced his support for Rally1 cars to feature modifications specifically designed for the demanding Safari Rally terrain.

The legendary African event, renowned for its unique challenges, including rough terrains and wildlife encounters, traditionally required cars to be equipped with various additional or modified parts.

One of the most prominent visual features of Safari-spec cars was snorkels, essential for preventing engine drowning when crossing deep water bodies. 

Moreover, frontal bullbars and wing-mounted headlights were also common modifications aimed at enhancing visibility and protecting the vehicles. 

Surprisingly, neither the 2021 World Rally Cars nor the current Rally1 cars incorporate such adaptations.

 "Our cars are not really made to deal with fesh-fesh, unfortunately. It really feels like a shame that WRC2 can make these modifications and we are not allowed. It would not be anything expensive; it's just destroying cars sometimes for nothing," Ogier said as per DirtFish.

The eight-time champion emphasized the importance of considering such modifications for future events, highlighting that minor adjustments could make a significant difference in overcoming challenges encountered during the rally.

"There are little things that don't make much sense, and honestly, we have not so many options. You go through and you just get stuck because of too much fesh-fesh and a blocked air filter due to high temperatures," Ogier added.

The Frenchman suggested that allowing specific modifications could prevent avoidable setbacks and ensure a smoother rally experience for the drivers.

Despite the limitations, Ogier's skills and determination prevailed in the face of adversity, leading him to clinch victory at the Safari Rally Kenya. In a thrilling finale, he managed to maintain a narrow 13.6-second lead over the current champion and 2023 points leader, Kalle Rovanpera. 

With only three stages remaining, Rovanpera managed to reduce the margin to under ten seconds, setting the stage for a nail-biting conclusion on the 10.53-kilometer Hell's Gate route at Lake Naivasha.

Ogier's remarkable win marked his third victory in five starts this season, further solidifying his status as a dominant force in the World Rally Championship.