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NEWS

M-SPORT TRIPLE SET TO TACKLE ICONIC SAFARI RALLY KENYA

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team prepare to take on the Sub-Saharan challenge awaiting them, returning to Kenya after only nine months since the FIA World Rally Championship’s last adventure there.


Unique, unpredictable and unforgiving, Safari Rally Kenya once again promises to be one of the most nail-biting events of the 2024 WRC season. The combination of high temperatures and frequent rain showers promise changeable conditions that require tricky set-up choices for the crews, as they battle initially muddy stages that dry out throughout the day.


Famously rough beyond the normal realms of a gravel rally, Safari Rally Kenya calls for its own unique event specifications and will see the cars with an exaggerated ride height, with this iteration also permitting teams to add a modified air intake, or ‘snorkel’ to the cars. Mostly associated with the iconic Safari look of the 1990s and early 2000s, the snorkel helps crews tackle deep water crossings and fesh-fesh to avoid rally-ending ingress of water and dust into the engine itself.


With an already tight championship fight in progress, M-Sport’s own Adrien Fourmaux sits third overall in the standings, and the third round in Kenya will play an important role in the story of the season to come.


Fourmaux, off the back of an outstanding career-first podium on Rally Sweden last month, will look to protect his valuable championship position by surviving the wilds of the Kenyan landscape. Claiming an incredible fifth overall on his first outing in Kenya back in 2021, and his maiden top-level stage win, the mixed rocky and muddy conditions proved to suit the Frenchman well. With an additional two years of gravel experience under his belt, Fourmaux will hope to make an impact on his return to Kenya for the first time since 2022.


Grégoire Munster also prepares to take on his first Safari Rally in top-level machinery. Making his debut here last year in a Fiesta Rally2, Munster put down some impressive pace with a handful of WRC2 stage wins and was leading the category until Saturday evening, when a mechanical issue stopped him in his tracks. The Luxembourg driver will most certainly look to use this experience to support his Rally1 upgrade, tactfully managing increased power with the higher risk of finding trouble within the rougher sections.


The team also looks forward to welcoming Jourdan Serderidis and Frederic Miclotte back into its folds for this iconic event. The Greek driver, who has competed the last two Safari rallies in the Puma Rally1 and claimed a stunning seventh overall in 2022, looks forward to getting back into top-level machinery. Having contested the East African Safari Classic Rally in December last year alongside Munster, Serderidis is primed and ready to take on the challenging African terrain once again.


 Richard Millener, Team Principal, said:

“Kenya is an incredibly special event for everyone involved and one that invites a considerable amount of anticipation! To say it’s unique is an understatement, the kinds of stages experienced here you absolutely won’t see anywhere else. It’s a particular engineering challenge too, with the additional ground clearance needed, and when it’s wet it doesn’t make the cars easy to work on!


“Thanks to the special regulations for this event, the team have been able to develop a modified air intake system that includes the famous snorkel. I’m personally very pleased to see the snorkel back on top-level WRC cars, but that’s probably mostly nostalgia talking!


“With the weather prediction we’ve seen so far, it’s likely to be a typically tough event. Adrien and Grégoire both have some good experience in Kenya and we hope to see some good results for them both, and for Adrien to hold on to his championship position. We’re also really pleased to have Jourdan back with the team for this rally since his last outing in Greece last year.”


Adrien Fourmaux said:

“I’m really pleased to be back in Kenya! I missed it last year, but I had quite a good result in 2021. The feeling and the atmosphere of this rally, with the wildlife and the amazing people living there, is really special.


“We know it’s going to be a tough event with the rainy season, and I think we’ll see a very different Kenya than in the last few years. There are many things that can happen on this event this year, so let’s see and try to deliver a good result on this rally. We want to try to keep third in the championship, keeping close to the others, that’s the main goal for now.”


Grégoire Munster said:

“I’m really looking forward to Kenya because it’s a rally I really appreciate, I had the chance to do it last year in the Rally2. I also competed on the classic rally with Jourdan in historic cars recently. It’s such a challenge to drive there, you can be fast in some sections but you also need to be really cautious in others, it makes the adventure so beautiful.


“The environment in which we are driving feels a bit like a dream with the wildlife and the nature. The weather changes can happen so quickly, if it rains it is often very heavy and it alters the whole profile of the stage. That makes it a big challenge and that’s why Rally Kenya is so difficult and so enjoyable for drivers at the same time.”


Jourdan Serderidis said:

“Kenya is definitely one of my best memories and my best result so far in WRC, so I did not see any reason why not to enjoy the event one more time! I look forward to working close to my friend Grégoire again and with our fantastic Puma Rally1.”




Published 22 March 2024

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