Sebastian Ogier Credit: Innocent Mutaawe

Sebastien Ogier has thrown down the gauntlet on the rest of the WRC pack after starting the Kenya Safari rally in high gear.  

The Frenchman posted the fastest time in the opening stage at the Kasarani Super special stage in the capital Nairobi on Thursday. 

The eight-time WRC champion returned to Kenya determined to defend a rally he won last year. He is on selected events for the season with Toyota. 

Ogier outpaced Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville by five-tenths of a second through the 4.84km Kasarani super special stage. 

“The challenge is going to be big. It’s not the kind of rally I usually love because it’s going to be really rough, but we will try to survive it,” said Ogier after the stage. 

Sebastien Ogier | Credit: Innocent Mutaawe

Ott Tanak was third fastest followed by Elfyn Evans while legend Sebastien Loeb sealed the top five of the day as he made a return to the Safari after two decades. 

Kenya’s Karan Patel was the best local placed crew in sixteenth position and fourth in the WRC2 category which is topped by Czech’s Kajetan Kajetanowicz. 

Crews will head back to Naivasha on Friday for the second leg covering a total of six stages. 

WRC championship leader Kalle Rovanpera will be first on the road followed by Thierry Neuville. 

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