by John Kwoba
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya is ready to
host the 2019 iconic Safari as a candidate event for the World
Rally Championship (WRC) with over 12 foreign drivers
WRC Safari Rally Kenya project CEO Phineas
Kimathi said Thursday that the country has met all the
regulations and standards set by the Federation Automobile
Association (FIA) towards the hosting of the event. Besides
being a WRC candidate event, the Safari will also serve as the
fourth round of the African Rally Championship.
"For the last one year we have worked tirelessly to meet all
the FIA conditions, I am glad to present a well-planned and safe
2019 Safari Rally," said Kimathi.
This year’s Safari rally will be staged in Nairobi and
Naivasha and will see crews drive off the ramp from July 5-7. It
will be the first time that the FIA will be hosting a Candidate
Event in the African continent which is a precursor to a
fully-fledged World Rally Championship Safari from 2020.
Two international WRC teams Hyundai and Ford MK Sports will
do the Recce during this year’s event in readiness for next
year’s world rally Championship event in Kenya.
Drivers will traverse the vast Nairobi and Naivasha areas
next weekend. Africa champion Manvir Baryan, fast-rising Onkar
Rai (Skoda Fabia) and Zambian ace Leroy Gomes (Ford Fiesta R5)
are among others confirmed drivers.
UK based M Sport team (MSA) trainers have been conducting
training for over 300 marshals for the last two months on safety
aspects of the rally including vehicle extraction techniques at
the Safari rally headquarters in Nairobi.
Ford, now racing under M Sport Team won the 2018 WRC drivers
title through Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia. Toyota won
the manufactures title.
WRC has 14 rounds in Asia, Australia, Europe and South
Kenya to fund huge Safari
Rally budget to
secure World Rally Championship status
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The iconic Safari Rally, which runs from Friday
to Sunday as a candidate event for the World Championship (WRC),
will cost the Kenya government 2 million U.S. dollars.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has sanctioned the budget
holding no stops to have the legendary event back in the WRC
since it was dropped in 2002.
The Safari Rally will see 51 local and foreign drivers cruise
through the 796.86 kms, of which 262.93kms will be competitive
in the three days.
Sports Ministry principal secretary Karimi Kaberia said it is
a worthy cause to invest the huge budget as it will help put the
country on the global map and boost sports tourism.
"The government has put in a big effort, funds, security and
support to make sure this year’s Safari Rally is run properly.
"Safari Rally is part of our national priority and can’t be
"The steering committee has done what’s necessary and it’s
all systems go.
"We are ready and upbeat for the President to flag off the
rally on Friday," said Kaberia on Wednesday.
The WRC is contested in Asia, South America, Europe and
However, should Safari Rally pass the last hurdle that is the
candidate event in 2019, it will be included in the 14-tier
series in 2020.
"We are determined to make sure Kenya gets the WRC status for
the 2020 season," said Kaberia.