This is the history of Safari Rally

CAPTION/Toyota Gazoo Racing star Kalle Rovanpera on his way to winning Rally Estonia at the weekend.PHOTOS/COURTESY

By Ochiericks

The Safari Rally was first held in 1953, as the East African Coronation Safari in Kenya,
Uganda and Tanganyika, as a celebration of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
In 1960 it was renamed the East African Safari Rally and kept that name until 1974,
when it became the Kenya Safari Rally. Widely regarded as one of the most popular
African rallies. It made its return to the World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2021 after
a 19-year hiatus.
The older version of the Safari Rally was notorious for being the most difficult rally in
the World championship. Some had said that winning this particular rally was the
equivalent of winning three other rallies.
The arduous conditions, such as the constantly changing weather and the very rough
roads often made life very difficult for team personnel. Repairs were constantly having
to be made to the cars, which added to the elapsed time of the competitors.
Frequently, all this work had to be done in intense heat and humidity. The event
adopted the special stage format in 1996.

From that edition until 2002, it featured over 1000 km of timed stages, with stages well
over 60 kilometers long, unlike most rallies which had under 500 kilometers of total
timed distance.
The event exited from the WRC calendar in 2003. Since 2003 the event has been part
of the FIA African Rally Championship, organized by Kenya Motorsports Federation.
The 2021 rally ran successfully between 23rd and 27th June, earning it’s rightful place
back amongst the greatest WRC events in the world.
The world was intrigued as to how Safari Rally could fit into a modern WRC. Central
service, modern cars etc. Words used to describe the event by legends; “Bellisima!”
Tiziano Siviero & Miki Biasion

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