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International drivers enter for Kenya’s
Safari Rally before WRC adoption

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- International drivers will compete in next year’s Safari Rally in Kenya to familiarize themselves with the conditions in Africa as the event hopes to be part of the World Rally Championships from 2020.

WRC Project Chief Executive Officer Phineas Kimathi said in Nairobi that the Safari Rally has signed a three-year contract to be part of the 14-tier World Rally Champion (WRC) starting from 2020 to 2022 and international rally drivers will compete in next year’s race, which will be part of the WRC candidate event.

“We expect international drivers to send in their crew for inspection and familiarization of the route before the event becomes part of the WRC.

“Organizers will create spectator friendly areas with the introduction of ‘power stage’ concept in 2019, thereby providing better access to the drivers and media,” Kimathi said.

The Safari Rally, which was launched in 1953 as part of the coronation of the Queen of England, was part of the WRC until 2002 before it was dropped for safety and lack of government support and funding.

However, Kenya has made it necessary to apply for reinstatement to the WRC and will be the only rally in Africa to complete the global rally competition.

“Drivers will earn additional five points for winning the power stage and bring Rally more to the people,” said Kimathi.

Legendary rally driver Michele Mouton who is also the FIA Race Director is expected in the country to inspect the routes that have been earmarked for the candidate rally which will be held in July.

“Mouton will inspect the three blocks of the route around Kajiado, Nanyuki, Naivasha and Nakuru. He will then make recommendations to WRC accordingly after the end of the visit,” said Kimathi.

The impending development will come amidst changes that have been effected by the KMSF for the country to realign itself with the International Motor Sports Federation (FIA) standards.

The changes made to the 2019 National Competition Rules (NCRs) are meant to give the country the requisite impetus to be considered as a host of the WRC leg by FIA in 2020.

The board also agreed to set up a Developing Motorsports Grassroots and Budget Racing Committee to be headed by legendary Rally driver Azar Anwar to look into an affordable car class to be improved by KMSF in order to promote motorsport in the grassroots level.


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