› Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak from Poland (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) travel to the FIA World Rally Championship’s seventh round as joint leaders of the WRC2 Challenger classification
› Oliver Solberg from Sweden and British co-driver Elliot Edmondson target the RC2 class win with their Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo
› German Armin Kremer (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo of team Baumschlager Rallye&Racing) aims to close the gap to the top of the WRC Masters Cup overall standings

Mladá Boleslav, 21. June 2023 – After six rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) – and four WRC2 category victories –, the new Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 takes a break. Mainly for logistical reasons, most of the European WRC2 competitors put their trust on the proven Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo for Safari Rally Kenya (22-25 June). The championship’s only round on the African continent features 15 entries in RC2 class. Among the eight Škoda crews, Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson (SWE/GBR) target the class victory while Kajetan Kajetanowicz/ Maciej Szczepaniak (POL/POL) chase championship points in category WRC2.

The Naivasha based Safari Rally Kenya is without any doubt the toughest round of the world championship. In 2022, Polish crew Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak scored a dominant WRC2 victory using a Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo. “I follow the route of ʽnever change a winning car’ and definitely want to repeat this success”, emphasizes ORLEN Rally Team’s Kajetanowicz, currently joint leader of the WRC2 Challenger category.

Oliver Solberg knows the Safari Rally Kenya from two previous participations, but he had to suffer from many setbacks in the past. “Success in Kenya is all about being reasonably fast but at the same time caring about your car,” says the young Swede. The son of former FIA World Rally Champion Petter Solberg is the top favourite for RC2 class, but has not registered to score points in the WRC2 classification. “My main goal is to collect more knowledge of this very challenging event. I need to run all stages without thinking about a championship,” Solberg explains. Instead of his usual Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 of team Toksport WRT, he this time relies on a Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo run by Eurosol Racing Team Hungary.

As former FIA Asia Pacific Rally Champion, Armin Kremer has as much experience with exotic events as his Dakar Rally winning co-driver Timo Gottschalk. However, the two Germans compete the Safari Rally Kenya for the very first time. Taking to the wheel of a Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo run by team Baumschlager Rallye&Racing, Kremer wants to get his title bid in WRC Masters Cup back on track. This category is reserved for drivers aged 50 and over. “After bad luck at the WRC2 rounds in Portugal and Italy, I have to win the WRC Masters Cup classification to keep my title hopes alive,” knows Armin Kremer. A WRC Masters Cup victory would earn him 25 points.

The Safari Rally Kenya features 19 special stages covering 356.98 kilometres. On Thursday (22 June), a short 4.84-kilometre show stage will be driven in the outskirts of the Kenyan capital Nairobi. Six stages make up the Friday (23 June), totalling another 125,54 kilometres. Saturday (24 June) is the longest day of the rally with another six special stages covering almost 150,88 kilometres. On Sunday (25 June), the final six stages will bring the decision. For the finish ceremony, the competitors return to Naivasha, which will again host the service park.

Did you know, that…

…Armin Schwarz/Manfred Hiemer (DEU/DEU) came third at the Safari Rally Kenya in 2001 with a Škoda Octavia WRC Evo2, marking the best ever world championship result for this model?

...until 2002, Safari Rally Kenya was part of the FIA World Rally Championship, took a 19-year-break and is back in the WRC calendar since 2021?

...competitors can expect rutted tracks with stones, deep sandy sections and possibly sudden rain, which changes the stages into a very slippery mud bath within minutes?

Standings WRC2 Challenger (before Safari Rally Kenya)

1. Nikolay Gryazin (ANA), Škoda, 50 points
2. Kajetan Kajetanowicz (PL), Škoda, 50 points
3. Marco Bulacia (BOL), Škoda, 50 points

Standings WRC Masters Cup (before Safari Rally Kenya)

1. Johannes Keferböck (AUT), Škoda, 58 points
2. Alexander Villanueva (ESP), Škoda, 52 points
3. Zóltán László (HUN), Škoda, 52 points

9. Armin Kremer (DEU), Škoda, 25 points        

2023 FIA World Rally Championship

Monte-Carlo 19. 01.–22. 01. 2023
Sweden 09. 02.–12. 02. 2023
México 16. 03.–19. 03. 2023
Croatia 20. 04.–23. 04. 2023
Portugal 11. 05.–14. 05. 2023
Italy 01. 06.–04. 06. 2023
Kenya 22. 06.–25. 06. 2023
Estonia 20. 07.–23. 07. 2023
Finland 03. 08.–06. 08. 2023
Greece 07. 09.–10. 09. 2023
Chile 28. 09.–01. 10. 2023
Central European (CZ/AUT¨/DEU) 26. 10.–29. 10. 2023
Japan 16. 11.–19. 11. 2023