Snorkels take center stage in pre-event tests for Safari Rally


MOTORSPORTS Snorkels take center stage in pre-event tests for Safari Rally

Festus Chuma 12:00 - 12.03.2024

Toyota, Ford and Hyundai preparing for Safari Rally with snorkels on Rally1 cars to combat challenging Kenyan terrain and wet conditions.

Toyota, Ford and Hyundai factory teams are setting the pace with innovative adaptations in preparation for the eagerly anticipated Safari Rally Kenya.

Last week, in compliance with regulations that restrict Rally1 car testing outside of Europe, Toyota and Hyundai conducted their tests in Portugal and Spain, respectively.

Amid these preparations, a standout feature has caught the motorsport world's attention: the introduction of snorkels on the Rally1 cars.

A recent video released by Toyota showcased Kalle Rovanpera expertly maneuvering the GR Yaris Rally1 car, but it was the car's so-called snorkel that stole the spotlight. 

Similarly, images from Hyundai's test have revealed a sleek, aerodynamically designed snorkel running alongside the windshield on the co-driver’s side of the i20 N Rally1 car. 

This development is in line with this season’s technical regulations, which now allow the use of snorkels across all classes of rally cars to effectively prevent water and dust from entering the engine.

The reintroduction of snorkels harks back to the Safari rallies of yore, with the Safari Rally Kenya itself, renowned for its demanding terrain and wildlife encounters, returning to the World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar in 2021. 

However, until now, snorkels were a feature exclusive to Rally2-class cars.

Last year's WRC Safari Rally champion, Sebastien Ogier, has been a vocal advocate for allowing Rally1 cars to feature modifications specifically designed for the Safari Rally's rigorous demands.

 "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 remarked.

As the Safari Rally Kenya approaches, scheduled from March 28 to March 31, the timing coincides with the rainy season, amplifying the anticipation of challenging conditions dominated by large puddles and demanding terrains.

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