world rally championship

Skoda Lock-Out WRC2 Podium

Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 crews dominated WRC2 at the Safari Rally Kenya (27-31 March 2024), third round of the 2024 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (GBR/SWE) led from start to finish, eventually beating their Toksport WRT teammates Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson (SWE/GBR) by more than a minute. Team RaceSeven’s Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak (POL/POL) secured third position, at the same time winning the WRC2 Challenger classification.

The exactly 70-year-old Safari Rally Kenya, nowadays run in the area of Lake Naivasha in the Rift Valley, is the 2024 WRC’s longest and arguably toughest event. 377 kilometres of in parts extremely rocky, in parts very sandy gravel roads through the African steppe were on the menu for the 13 crews entered into the WRC2 category. The date change from late summer to Easter time added more to the challenge: Seasonal rain transformed sections of the stages into long and deep mudholes.

Two crews of Germany-based team Toksport WRT took the initiative from the short Super Stage in the outskirts of the country’s capital Nairobi on. Experienced Briton Gus Greensmith and Swedish co-driver Jonas Andersson, who had skipped the first two events of the season, powered their Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 into the lead with a string of four fastest WRC2 times, in the beginning closely followed by teammates Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson. But the young Swedish-British pairing lost nearly four minutes, when they had to change a wheel (SS3) followed by a slow puncture (SS4). Greensmith, who suffered from flu-like symptoms, could switch to safe mode. „This has been the toughest afternoon I've ever had in rallying,“ the 27-year-old Briton said at the Friday finish.

At that point, Solberg/Edmondson had climbed back to third WRC2 position behind last year’s category winners Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak. More important for the Polish crew sharing a Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 of Spanish team RaceSeven: They were leading the WRC2 Challenger classification. Their only problem was caused by sand in the engine’s air filter system, which featured the typical snorkel allowed only during the “Safari”.
By posting four fastest WRC2 times during Saturday’s six stages, Solberg leapfrogged Kajetanowicz into second position of the category. Sunday saw a controlled drive of all three crews, eventually resulting in an all-Škoda podium in WRC2 with Greensmith/Andersson on top, Solberg/Edmondson in second and Kajetanowicz/Szczepaniak in third. “I'm really, really happy. Thank you to the team, they've been perfect,” Greensmith commented on the perfect start into his WRC2 title hunt. With this success, Greensmith/Andersson also scored an remarkable sixth position overall.

18 points for second WRC2 position in Kenya plus 25 from victory at Rally Sweden meant that Solberg jumped into the overall lead of the category after three of the season’s 13 events. „Good start into the championship,“ Solberg summed up. Kajetan Kajetanowicz, who did not enter Rallye Monte-Carlo and Rally Sweden, kicked-off his WRC2 Challenger title defense with a class victory. After Safari Rally Kenya, Toksport WRT holds a joint lead in the WRC2 Teams’ championship.

Three more Škoda crews finished Safari Rally Kenya inside the WRC2 top 10: Daniel Chwist/Kamil Heller from Poland came sixth, locals Karan Patel/Tauseef Khan and Aakif Virani/Zahir Shah finished nineth and tenth respectively.

After the championship’s only African round the competitors travel back to Europe for the first pure tarmac event of the year. Rally Croatia is next from 18th to 21st April.

Number of the rally: 2
Only two crews posted fastest stage times in WRC2, both with Škoda Fabia RS Rally2. Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson took eleven stages, WRC2 winners Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson appeared on top of the time sheet eight times.

Safari Rally Kenya, 27-31 March 2024, Result WRC2
1 Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (GBR/SWE), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, 3:54:09.4 hours
2 Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson (SWE/GBR), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, +1:23.1 minutes
3 Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak (POL/POL), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, +8:29.0 minutes

External Credits:

Skoda Motorsport

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