by John Kwoba
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- More than 45
drivers, with 10 foreign crews, have been cleared to compete in
this year’s Safari Rally, which seeks to pass the test and be
included in the World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2020.
Safari Rally, arguable the toughest motor rallying event in the
history of the WRC, has attracted crews from host Kenya,
Britain, Italy, Belgium, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi.
With entries closing on Wednesday midnight, for the event set
for July 5 to 7, organizers are upbeat that the event, running
as a candidate race for the WRC this year, will overcome its
final hurdle to convince International Federation of Automobile
(FIA) to include it in the 14-tier WRC.
"We have huge interest from foreign and local drivers," said
WRC Project Chief Executive Officer Phineas Kimathi on
"It is a clear endorsement of the huge following the vent has
Kimathi said 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. However it must pass safety tests.
The Safari Rally will also double up as the fourth round of
the 2019 African Rally Championship (ARC), in which Kenya’s
Manvir Baryan, driving a Ford Fiesta car, is patched at the top
of the leaderboard.
Belgians Giancarlo Davite and Sylvia Vindevogel are confident
of a good performance.
"It feels good to be back in Kenya for the Safari Rally as
part of the FIA WRC Candidate Event.
"I hope to be among the top Mitsubishi Lancer drivers at the
end of the competition," said Davite.
There is also Leroy Gomes and Urshilla Gomes from Zambia
being cleared to compete.
"It is an inspiration to compete in the Safari Rally. Kenya
has some good drivers and am curious to have the feeling of the
roads and speed thrills," said Gomes.
Others are Italian Pieiro Canobbio, Ugandans Yasin Nasser,
Christakis Fitidis, Godfrey Nsereko, Duncan Mubiru, Ronald
Ssebaguzi, JB Musisi, Abdul Katete (Rwanda), Lloyd John
(Britain) and Zambian Leroy Gomes.
Kenyan driver Ian Duncan will headline the local crew as he
eyes his fifth title in the race.
The 1994 WRC Safari champion will be going for victory as the
most experienced driver in the field of 43 drivers who have so
far confirmed participation.
The Safari will be flagged on July 5 with cars will then head
to the Super Special Stage.
"Drivers will earn additional five points for winning the
power stage and bring Rally more to the people," said Kimathi.
So important is safety of drivers and spectators that the FIA
has sent the 1983 WRC Safari Rally champion Michelle Mouton as
the safety delegate.
Belgian drivers among
foreign legion eyeing to conquer iconic Safari Rally
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Belgian Giancarlo Davite navigated by Sylvia
Vinevogel of Burundi are the latest crew to confirm
participation in this year’s Safari Rally, which counts as a
candidate event for the World Rally Championship.
Davite will join Britain’s John Lloyd, who will be navigated
by Kenyan Adrian Cavenagn in Ford Escort in the classic.
There is also Zambia star Leroy Gomes, navigated by Urshlla
in a Ford Fiesta R5, who will lead the quest for the Africa
Rally Championships, of which Safari rally is part of the
Ugandans Anthony Mugambwa and Leon Ssenyange will drive in a
Mitsubishi EVO X.
World Rally Championship Safari Rally Project chief executive
officer Phineas Kimathi said Thurdsay that the entries for the
July 5-7 rally close on June 19.
"The interest from foreign drivers is high and we hope the
manufacturing companies with come on board.
"It is a great statement to have top drivers returning for
the Safari Rally," said Kimathi.
The Safari Rally used to be part of the WRC from 1974 to
2002, before it was axed for lack of government support and
It will be held in 2019 as a candidate event for the WRC, the
final hurdle to convince Federatione de Automobile Association (FIA)
that it meets the safety requirements before it is official
reinstated in the 14-tier WRC in 2020.
More crews are expected to submit their entries before the
official deadline on June 19.
Only 60 cars will be allowed by the organizers of the event
that will be considered as a World Rally Championship candidate
round in addition to being a leg of the 2019 African Rally
Ugandan ace Duncan Mubiru, who rolled spectacularly at a
spectator stage last year less than a kilometre to the finish
line but went on to finish sixth overall, leads the regional
Other Ugandans in contention for the Safari are Kepher Walubi/
Anthony Mugambwa, Ronald Ssebaguzi/ Leon Ssenyange and Yasin
Nasser/ Ali Katumba.
World motor rallying body
trains Kenyan marshals ahead of Safari Rally
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Federation Internationale de Automobile (FIA) has
trained more than 100 safety marshals in Nairobi in readiness
for the Safari Rally, which runs as a World Rally Championship (WRC)
The Safari rally, which seeks to be reinstated in the WRC
after 17 years of hiatus, also serves as the fourth round of the
Africa Rally Championship.
"A record 120 safety marshals’ volunteers underwent training
seminar moderated by rally aces Norris Ongalo and Charles Hinga.
"This is the third session, and will be conducted on June 19
by Sue Sanders when she comes to Kenya," said Kenya Motor Sport
Federation President Phineas Kimathi.
Sanders is a top global FIA training expert for rally safety.
Sanders, a training manager of Motor Sports Association
United Kingdom, will hold the three days training seminar from
June 19 to 21 for top rally officials who will be expected to
impart and put to practice their expertise in the Safari.
The FIA and WRC Promoter has put premium attention to safety
of competitors and spectators.
She will pay attention on decision making, communication,
Security experts from the private sector also met with
representatives from the police to draw a security master plan
which will be masterminded and executed by the disciplined
"The policed areas will be spectator stages, competitive and
open roads where the competition cars will pass," said Kimathi,
who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Safari Rally
Only 60 drivers will be allowed in the rally and local
drivers will be selected based on their rankings.
Safari rally hopes to be back in the WRC after it was dropped
in 2002 for lack of sponsors and government support.
It will become the only leg in Africa for the WRC 14-leg