WRC: Thika-based rally driver Wanyoike relishes contest with world’s best


WRC: Thika-based rally driver Wanyoike relishes contest with world's best
Wanyoike will be racing with his car displaying number 53 and asks spectators to cheer him up to victory. PHOTO/ Moses Ngige

In Summary

  • A team of 58 drivers have been confirmed for the event, in which 24 of them are foreigners, with the most prominent being Frenchman Sébastien Ogier who has grabbed a total of seven WRC titles out of the last eight championships.
  • Wanyoike will be racing with his car displaying number 53 and asks spectators to cheer him up to victory.

It’s all set to go for  the 48-year-old World Rally Championship (WRC) driver Wanyoike Ng’ang’a, ahead of the much anticipated Safari Rally that will go down in Naivasha, Nakuru county,  from Thursday.

Armed with his pimped Subaru N10-STI racing car, cheerful and hopeful, Wanyoike is ready to put his 10-year experience to a test against the best in the racing sport.

The Thika-based racer says the most important thing is to safely complete the four-day race. Nevertheless, Wanyoike says he targets to start with purpose and confidence to announce his arrival as a serious contender in the championship.

“We are happy that it (WRC) will be happening on our soil again, I feel privileged that I will be part of the history.  I don’t know at what position I will finish but I’m praying that I finish the race safely,” he spoke to Citizen Digital as preparations for the event hit fever-pitch.

According to the experienced driver, it is astronomical to participate in the WRC and one needs a private sponsorship to inject some funds in full preparations and throughout the race, a sport he termed as pocket-milking for an independent driver.

“This rally is very expensive, so many things have to be set up and currently I don’t have an official sponsor, I’m looking for one. I already acquired the most important things like the fire extinguishers, belts and wheels but some I haven’t,” Wanyoike revealed.

The Kenya Commercial Bank sponsored event, which will take place in the scenic town of Naivasha in the Great Rift Valley, was restored to the WRC calendar following an intensive campaign led by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Interestingly, the 2021 event returns to Kenya after 19 years of wait and the exotic wildlife, stunning sceneries and clouds of dust are still on the menu for the modern WRC.

In a statement released on Thursday last week by President Kenyatta, Kenya is adequately prepared to welcome back the WRC.

The President urged Kenyan motorsport enthusiasts who will be attending the four-day Safari Rally to be careful, saying it had taken the country years of negotiations and preparations to bring back the WRC event after a 19-year absence.

“It was 2010 when we started trying to work with WRC to ask them to get back. There were a lot of hurdles along the way. The preparations have been intense and I want to thank all agencies, our private sector, and rally enthusiasts who have given their time and effort to ensure that this event takes place.

“My hope and my prayer is that the manner in which we shall conduct ourselves over the next few days will be such that everybody will accept and understand that the Safari Rally is now here and is here to stay, and we’re not likely to lose it. But that will depend on not only how you the drivers all perform, all the agencies involved will perform but how Kenyans themselves will behave,” the President said.

A team of 58 drivers have been confirmed for the event, in which 24 of them are foreigners, with the most prominent being Frenchman Sébastien Ogier who has grabbed a total of seven WRC titles out of the last eight championships.

Wanyoike will be racing with his car displaying number 53 and asks spectators to cheer him up to victory.

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Story By Moses Ngige
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