Adventurer Prokop relishing Kenyan run
M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally2 star Martin Prokop will lead the support category runners into the unknown at the World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally that began yesterday with the Super Special Stage at Kasarani in Nairobi.
Historically, Prokop has enjoyed competing on tricky terrain.
Alongside sporadic FIA World Rally Championship outings, the 38-year-old has contested the Dakar Rally every year since 2016.
He will fulfil a childhood dream when he drives on the Great Rift Valley roads this week.
With key title protagonists including Andreas Mikkelsen, Marco Bulacia and Mads Østberg absent, the Czech pilot also has the chance to score big points and climb the championship standings.
“Since I was a small child, I watched this epic rally and I always wanted to be part of it.
This year, my dream comes true, and I am very thankful for that,” beamed Prokop.
“The stages look very hard in places. Sometimes it would be better to use the cross-country car! I am looking forward to tackling these stages in this unique landscape,“ he added.
The WRC3 entry is dominated by a raft of Kenyan challengers. Each and every one of them will be eager for glory on home roads.
Onkar Rai tops the list in a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, followed by Carl Tundo’s similar machine.
Tundo claimed victory by over 12min at the Equator Rally in April, which included some identical stages to those which will feature in this week’s itinerary.
He also shares a Safari Rally record with Shekhar Mehta, having won the event five times - albeit not as part of the WRC.
Tejveer Rai also starts in another Polo, whilst Karan Patel fields a Fiesta R5 machine.
Previous WRC experience will come in handy for Patel after he contested the Junior WRC in 2016.
Aakif Virani will drive a Škoda Fabia R5, with Polish driver Daniel Chwist rounding out the entry in another Fiesta.
It’s set to be a special rally for Chwist, as grandfather Sobiesław Zasada is making a popular comeback in a M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally3 - aged 91!