As Richard Burns powered his Mitsubishi Carisma GT across the line in a glorious flurry of obscenities, who knew it would be 26 years before the Safari Rally would be back in its traditional March slot?
None of that matters now. Main thing is, calendar-wise, Kenya’s back where it belongs.
And now? Let it rain.
The chance to recreate those stunning mud-bath images is impossible to resist. But please, please, please, let’s have snorkels back, just to complete that awesome picture.
The only downside to Kenya in March is the loss of México. We can all kid ourselves every now and then that an event puts on a proper ceremonial start, but until you’ve stood in the center of Guanajuato on the only Thursday that matters in March, you really haven’t seen the real deal.
Talking of the Americas, the understanding that Argentina is coming back the year after next is good and it returns relevance, heritage and, let’s face it, borderline hysteria when the cars rattle between the rocks of El Condor.
The west side of the Atlantic is building into the sort of headache that puts a smile on your face. The United States is getting closer, México, Argentina and Chile… That sounds like a motorsporting quartet to blow any F1 triple-header into the weeds.
Let’s deliver on that promise.
What else is new next season? Poland’s back, Latvia’s in and Estonia’s gone. And the WRC’s summer festival of speed just got one round longer. This year it was Tartu to Jyväskylä. Now it’s Poland-to-Latvia-Finland in five weeks. More time in top gear. I like that. Central Europe has never had it so good – and that’s before we get to the return of the Central European Rally, which runs in 53 weeks.
Naturally, there’s one thing which makes me sad about the 2024 list: no Rally GB. For the fifth year in succession, Britain will be missing from the world’s finest rallies. How is that possible? How?
Shocking as it is, don’t expect it to change anytime soon.
But let’s not end on a note of depression, let’s look forward to Monte, Sweden and Safari.
At least some of the good and the great remain.