With Kenya’s Safari Rally having been reinstated into the World Rally Championship calendar from 2020, the big job starts now.
Kenya will be among the 14 countries that will host a round of the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship with the Monte-Carlo Rally opening the season from January 26.
The Safari Rally have been pencilled from July 19.
While celebrating the return of the Safari into the WRC calendar, President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday pledged the government’s support for the annual event.
“My Administration will continue to work with the relevant bodies to ensure that the 2020 Safari Rally and successive events thereafter, are hosted successfully,” the president said in a recorded speech delivered at the KICC when Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed and Kenya Motorsports Federation chairman Phineas Kimathi released the good news to Kenyans.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank the President of the International Automobile Federation, Mr Jean Todt, the World Rally Championship Promoter Mr Oliver Ciesla, the Chairman of the Kenya Motorsports Federation, Mr Phineas Kimathi and the Directors and Technical teams, for working with my Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage through the World Rally Championship Safari Rally project, to deliver this iconic event that forms part of our national heritage,” President Kenyatta, who is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, said via the live link.
Three new rounds — the Safari Rally, Rally New-Zealand and the season-closing Rally Japan — will all make their return to the world stage. KMSF President Kimathi, who is also the director of the WRC Safari Rally Project, was elated on Friday.
“I must thank all those who supported the team. It is great news for Kenya rally fans, competitors, officials and fans. Our hard job starts now as next year’s event will be run in July as per the new calendar released by FIA,” said Kimathi. Also speaking via live link from Geneva, International Automobile Federation (FIA) President Jean Todt said he was happy the process of reinstating the Safari Rally has been concluded.
“The Safari Rally has been included in the International Automobile Federation World Rally Championship 2020 Calendar, marking the return of the World Rally Championship to Kenya and Africa, after 18 years of waiting,’’ said the FIA President.
Todt thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta for his intervention and initial involvement in working with the team for the Safari Rally to be included in the calendar.
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