Toyota’s Safari arrival delayed

Boat carrying Toyota recce cars and kit won't dock on time, but the team are confident it'll be business as usual in Africa


Toyota’s appearance in the Safari Rally Kenya service park has been delayed due to the late arrival of the boat carrying the team’s kit.

DirtFish understands M-Sport and Hyundai have been slightly delayed, but their containers are currently being offloaded at a rail freight depot close to the Naivasha – Toyota’s kit is on a boat which won’t dock in Mombasa until 0200 Saturday morning. This does not impact on the three entry cars, which have arrived and are sitting in their freight containers in the service park.

The team then has to get the containers through customs, onto a truck and eight hours up the road to Naivasha. The construction of the service park is the minor concern, the wider worry is whether the three GR Yaris recce cars will be ready in time for the start of practice at seven o’clock on Monday morning.

Toyota’s sporting director Kaj Lindström told DirtFish: “We’re not concerned about this. We’ve been monitoring the situation and working with the organisers. I think the boat is something like five hours delayed, but we’ll be in the service park on Sunday, no worries.”

Toyota Safari

Are there clouds on the horizon for Toyota's Safari assault next week? Not according to sporting director Kaj Lindstrom

Should the process not run smoothly, the team would be forced to run their drivers in rental cars for the recce – which would be more of a problem than usual in Kenya, where cars are right-hand drive.

A Kenyan source told DirtFish: “It should be fine coming through customs – the organisers will have people there helping out. But this is something a little bit out of the control of the teams and, like we know and understandably, the teams want to be in full control all of the time.”

Toyota was the only one of the three manufacturer teams to bring its longhaul kit back to its team base in Jyväskylä. Hyundai and M-Sport’s service park infrastructure and recce cars have gone directly from last year’s Rally Japan to Africa.

Toyota arrived late into the Naivasha service park last season, building its infrastructure on Sunday afternoon, but that didn’t stop the Japanese manufacturer dominating the African classic for a third year in succession.