Kenya Notebook: The Kenyan savannah from the sky

There are some moments that are more difficult than others when following the World Rally Championship. Especially when the WRC Promoter had the excellent idea of ​​helping you gain height…

Published on 25/06/2021 à 17:55

Gonzalo Forbes

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Kenya Notebook: The Kenyan savannah from the sky

Loïc Rocci, our special correspondent in Kenya, was treated to a helicopter flight. ©Loïc Rocci

Boarding a helicopter to watch the first three special stages on Friday will be one of the unforgettable memories of this edition.

From the floor of… zebras, Kenya is already superb, but observed, admired even from the cockpit of a bird of this type, it becomes magical. To reach Chui Lodge, the first section (13,34 km) of the morning, the flight over the banks of Lake Naivasha is made absolutely magnificent by the light of the rising sun.


©Loïc Rocci

Le bruit de l’appareil au moment où ce dernier se pose fait s’enfuir antilopes, autruches et phacochères. Le passage dans la forêt se révèle très rapide, mais également très cassant. Les pilotes Hyundai sont visiblement à l’attaque tandis que les deux premiers du championnat, Sébastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans seem to have it under their belt. The sign indicating post 7 in this chrono does not, however, resist the evolution of the Frenchman. (“ It bothered me to get a good grip on the rope ”, he joked later.)


©Loïc Rocci

It is not possible to linger too long. Kedong, the longest special of the weekend (32,68 km) will soon start. The short flight of a few minutes allows you to have another vision of the Great Rift Valley with cliffs, very deep troughs and some spectacular hills.

Unlike the first spot, that of this SS3 is frighteningly fast given the difficulty of the terrain. The Rally1s hurtle at 180 km/h, swallowing up bumps, holes and compressions as if they were traveling on a…motorway?


©Loïc Rocci

The last opportunity to observe the competitors during this first morning of the race takes place from a promontory in Oserian (18,87 km) which slightly overlooks an immense meadow where wild life is in full swing without worrying about the colorful machines backfiring. While Neuville and Kalle Rovanperä seem to be playing on sand and stones while competing for the lead, Ogier takes care of his Yaris injured by a shock absorber.

The celebrations are over, however, it is time to return to the service park to gather the drivers' first impressions. The final flight of the morning allows us to immerse ourselves one last time in the magic of these landscapes while measuring the luck of being there.


©Loïc Rocci

 

Gonzalo Forbes

In charge of promotion formulas (F2, F3, FRECA, F4...). Carried by the grace of Franco Colapinto.

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