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Ferdinand Omanyala ‘Beats’ Rally Champion Kalle Rovanpera Ahead of Safari Rally, Video
- Ferdinand Omanyala faced World Rally series leader Kalle Rovanpera ahead of the Safari Rally
- Rovanpera will be seeking to defend his Safari Rally title from June 22 to June 25 in Naivasha
- It was a close finish between Africa's fastest man Omanyala and rally champion Rovanpera
Ferdinand Omanyala faced an unfamiliar opponent when he met the World Rally Championship series winner, Kalle Rovanpera, ahead of this week's Safari Rally.
Omanyala was pitted against the Finnish driver in a battle dubbed 'Man vs Machine'.
In the video shared by Rovanpera's Toyota Kazoo social media accounts, the stars in their fields are seen lining up on the track.
Omanyala takes to the starting blocks as he often does in races while the driver gets into his tool of trade - the Toyota GR Yaris Rally 1 Car.
The two stare at each other pensively before going off and almost finishing at the same time, in what is called a photo finish in athletics terms.
Speaking to Nation Sports, Omanyala confirmed the clip was just a promotional video, with the race only taking place over short distance.
"It was just a photo shoot, maybe over 30 metres or so, but meeting the World Champion was nice."
The Commonwealth Champion wished 22-year-old Rovanpera all the best as the Finnish star seeks to defend his Safari Rally title this week in Naivasha.
Safari Rally 2023 details
Sports Brief also reported on more than 35 drivers gracing this year's Safari Rally, which kicks off on Wednesday with the shake-down at Loldia before the flag-off at Uhuru Park on Thursday and the special stage at Kasarani.
Defending champion, Rovanpera and 2021 winner, Sebastian Ogier are set to headline what has often been called the toughest and wildest leg of the series, along with big names like Ott Tänak, Evans Elfyn, and Thierry Neuville.
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Rovanpera, who races for Toyota Gazoo, leads the standings ahead of the meeting in Kenya. The Finnish driver has 118 points, 25 better than Hyundai's Neuville, and will hope to extend his lead with another victory.
Omanyala leads Diamond League standings
Sports Brief also reported that Omanyala is on course to qualify for the Diamond League finals, with the Commonwealth Champion leading the standings after five legs.
He raced in his second-ever Diamond League race against an elite field in Rabat on May 28. He then followed it up with back-to-back races in Florence in Italy, and Paris in France.
Omanyala - the fastest man in Africa - grabbed podium places in all three races, coming in third in Morocco before two consecutive second-place finishes in the European races.