NAIROBI, Kenya, March 26 – McRae Kimathi believes his return to the FIA African Rally Championship (FIA) will help boost his Junior WRC aspirations.
MacRae will use next week’s ARC Equator Rally (April 1-3) to prepare for the WRC Croatia Rally scheduled for April 21-24.
The career accountant was one of the top performers at WRC Rally Sweden where he steered his M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally3 to a WRC 3 podium and fourth in Junior WRC.
Despite initial scares, MacRae came roaring back to become the first ever Kenyan finalist in the winter match who ventures deep into the frozen and remote forests of northeast Sweden.
“The next target for me is the African Rally Championship in Naivasha, after which I will travel to Croatia to compete in the third round of the WRC and the second of the Junior World Rally Championship,” said MacRae.
“The ARC Equator Rally is just to keep me fit for Croatia, but again I want to defend my African Junior Rally Championship title, so it’s something close to my heart and For ARC, it’s just about putting what we learned in Europe into practice and continuing to improve to try to retain the title,” he explained.
Kimathi and partner Mwangi Kioni will compete in the entire ARC Championship in their other Rally3 car prepared by M-Sport Poland and stationed in Kenya.
He added: “About KNRC, I’m not really sure because I crashed my car in Il-Bisil, but if I manage to fix it in time, I might do some KNRC.”
The ARC Equator Rally will serve as the dry track for the WRC Safari Rally scheduled for June.
Kimathi reveals that his opponents in the Junior WRC race are experienced and know the European terrain well.
“Most people in Junior WRC have been to these events before, so for me it’s just to learn the new stages and rack up as many points as possible to keep improving my pace and see where I end up at the end. of the season.”
Because Kimathi will encounter something new in every WRC event he goes to, he thinks more siege time is inevitable on the ARC front.
“It was interesting on snow, new terrain, new surface for me, because we had a little mistake which was maybe due to driver error, or maybe lack of experience, but we managed to get the car running again, thanks to the spectators we were able to get a good finish and get some good points to start the championship for now we’ll just build on that and take every event as it happens, because each round will be a new experience for me.
The second WRC appearance in Croatia will be a tantalizing mix of asphalt, with some surfaces worn and bumpy due to weather and water damage and others much smoother.
“Croatia will be new, a fast asphalt event and as my colleagues told me it gets really slippery when wet, which we have to be careful of. I’ve never ridden on tarmac, but we’re planning something soon, maybe test drive before Croatia just to see how the car handles on tarmac.
“All events we need to leave a little early so we can have time to test. M-Sport Poland gave me the opportunity to learn and upgrade.
Kimathi believes the competition at Rally Greece will be tighter “because it’s similar to Kenya”.
“Rally Estonia will be like Finland, a very fast course, maybe something I’m looking forward to. It’s gravel but a different type of gravel with massive jumps and even faster than Finland.