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World Rally Championship driver Mads Østberg
shows interest in the 2019 Kenya Safari Rally

NAIROBI -- Former Citroen and M-Sport factory driver Mads Østberg is interested in racing the 2019 edition of the ARC Safari Rally, writes SAMSON ATEKA.

The 67th running of the Safari will count towards the fourth leg of 2019 FIA African Rally Championship (ARC), the fifth round of the Kenya National Rally Championship, and above all, a World Rally Championship (WRC) candidate event with the noble objective to return to the global circuit in 2019.

The Safari Rally, which was incepted in 1953 as part of the coronation of the Queen of England, was part of the WRC until 2002 before it was dropped from the world series.

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 on the first weekend of July 2019.

The Safari could be Østberg's second event after Otago Rally of New Zealand.

Otago was Østberg's first confirmed event for the Norwegian who lost his seat at Citroen Racing.

In response to a newspaper story which highlighted the growing interest of European works drivers for the forthcoming Safar, Østberg tweeted:

  Mads Østberg interested in racing the 2019 edition of the ARC Safari Rally | Coastweek

Former Citroen and M-Sport factory driver Mads Østberg is interested in racing the 2019 edition of the ARC Safari Rally.
"I will consider any option involving an opportunity to be behind the wheel of a rally car."

Mark Tufte, a.k.a Mark Make Roads Safe (admin of 'Rallying in Africa' page on Facebook) said:

"Actually, as I saw Tapio racing the Mini Classic Safari in a Kabras’s Porsche, I asked Mads Østberg if he’s interested in racing the Safari Rally 2019 in July.

"He replied he’s really interested.

"I linked him to a Kenyan team but they couldn’t come to an agreement due to some logistical issues.

"As we're both from Norway, it was easier for me to ask him if he would be interested to do the Safari.

"The idea came to me when he announced that he will do Otago Rally in New Zealand in 2019.

"It was his first confirmed event as he had lost his seat at Citroen Racing.

"So I told him the Safari could be the second one.

"Even when he was dealing his contract in Rallycross with Skoda, he got back to me many times to ask about the Safari Rally.

"Unfortunately, they couldn't come to an agreement Nevertheless, all is not lost.

"Personally I'm convinced that hosting a top world rally driver like Mads is a great opportunity for African teams and events.

"It has a great PR and ROI values.

"The google search for Otago Rally has significantly increased after Mads announced he’ll do it.

"We're always aiming to bring back the WRC in Africa.

"Africa has some great events: the Safari of course but also Rallye Bandama of Ivory Coast and the York Rally of South Africa."

Østberg won the 2012 Portugal Rally when driving a M-sport Ford Fiesta WRC

and scored many podium finishes.

"He won the Norwegian NRC title three times in 2006, 2007 and 2008

He’s now searching for a contract with an official team in the WRC.

FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) 2019 Calendar

February 23-24-Rallye Bandama (Ivory Coast)-ROUND 1

April 27-28-York Rally (South Africa)-ROUND 2

June 8-9-Zambia International Motor Rally (Zambia)-ROUND 3

July 6-7-Safari Rally (Kenya)-ROUND 4

August 3-4: Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally -POAUR (Uganda)-ROUND 5

September 14-15: Rally of Tanzania (Tanzania)-ROUND 6

October 5-6: Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Rally (Rwanda)-ROUND 7



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