Safari Rally Kenya Friday stage guide

The first full-day of WRC action in Kenya for almost two decades is a tricky one


One stage is done, and it’s Sébastien Ogier that heads an early Toyota 1-2-3 after the short superspecial. But Friday is where, as the leader put it – “the real stuff starts.”

The World Rally Championship’s first full day of African competition runs on roads to the south of Lake Naivasha. Six stages are on offer – three repeated in the afternoon totaling 80.6 miles.

SS2/5 Chui Lodge (8.28 miles)

One of two day one stages run on private estate roads, the other being Oserian (SS4/7). This is the first time Chui Lodge has been used competitively. Crews pull a few gears off the line before standing on the brakes and flick the car into a square left between a pair of bushes. After that it’s narrow and twisty with plenty of rocks at the side of the road.


Photo: M-Sport

There’s a brief dash across an African plain-type landscape before the cars are back into the trees for another technical, heavily wooded section to the finish. Note to the crews, if you get a puncture in here, it’s worth factoring the wildlife into the stop and change equation: leopards and lions are spotted regularly in these parts. I’d run it on the rim to the finish.

SS3/6 Kedong (20.30 miles)

Used in 2002 (it was twice the length back then) when Sébastien Loeb was fastest on his Safari Rally debut with Citroën. There’s plenty of fesh-fesh in here and, for the main, the stage runs out in the open and across the plains and is very, very quick for the first five miles. After that it gets more twisty.

There’s a big jump and some stunning backdrops on offer from Kedong, but the finish offers a technical and rocky section which will provide a real sting in the tail to the day’s longest test.

SS4/7 Oserian (11.72 miles)

Geographically close to Chui Lodge and, again, a brand-new stage. Faster and wider than the day’s opener, there’s real variety in here, ranging from the 1000-meter long straight to some tight, twisty sections. Another feature is the road dropping down into a bowl where giraffes, wildebeest, antelope and buffalo live.