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FIA president urges Kenya to improve road safety for Safari Rally return to WRC | Coastweek

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan road race veteran Lee Rose drives on the road in his Mitsubishi during the 57th Safari Rally, one of the world's toughest and oldest rallies, which set off from Nairobi. The first stage headed out to Nakuru and the lake Elementaita region with a distance of 48.7 kilometers. XINHUA PHOTO - XU SUHUI

FIA president urges Kenya to improve
road safety for Safari Rally return to WRC   

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- President of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) Jean Todt wants Kenya to focus more on road safety and meeting international rally standards if Safari rally is to be readmitted to the World Rally Championship.

Speaking in Nairobi on Monday, Todt lauded Kenya’s government effort to meet the world standards but cautioned a lot need to be done including restricting the Safari rally private roads and ranches and no more racing on public roads.

Todt will officially open the WRC Safari Rally Project headquarters on Tuesday in Nairobi.

The Safari rally, which was part of the World Rally Championships (WRC) until 2002, was arguably the toughest of the 14-tier circuit. However, it was run on open roads crossing throughout the country, which Todt noted is not attainable today.

“I see no reason why Kenya cannot make it back to the WRC. The FIA is very impressed with the Kenya National Rally Championship as one of the best run events in Africa,” said Todt, Monday in Nairobi. “However, the new standards of rallying must be respected.”

Todt revealed Africa remains a key region for the FIA in terms of rallying but added the necessary guarantees set by the FIA will have to be met. Todt said Safari rally will make the WRC complete by having one leg in Africa in order to have a global appeal

“Kenya is doing very well and President Uhuru Kenyatta has done well to support our work. I look forward to seeing Safari rally back to the WRC,” said Todt.

The Safari Rally, which is arguably the most difficult rally to conquer, started in 1953 as part of the coronation for the England Queen and remained the top spot in the WRC until 2002.

Currently the WRC is staged in Monaco, Sweden, Mexico, France, Argentina, Portugal, Italy, Poland, Finland, Germany, Spain, England and Australia.

This year’s Safari rally will be held from March 15-17. Safari Rally will also double up as the second round of Africa Rally Championship and will be raced in Naivasha with over 221km of competitive distance.



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