NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
For nearly three decades, Safari Rally
was the sport that put Kenya on the global map after athletics.
The championship was the main event for fans and families during
the long Easter weekend that runs between Friday and Monday.
The competition brought most of the big names in motorsport
and car manufacturer works teams to Kenya to participate in what
was dubbed locally as competition between "man and machine".
All this came to an end in 2002 when the Safari Rally lost
the much-coveted World Rally status after government funding
dried up and the organizers’ failure to adhere to the Federation
Internationale de I’Automobile’s (FIA) guidelines on spectator
However, things are looking up to motorsports enthusiasts
after the chairman of the Kenya Motor Sports Federation (KMSF),
Supi Soin, recently announced that plans are at an advanced
stage to return the Safari Rally to World Rally Championship (WRC)
"We want to get WRC candidature event by 2019.
"The national competition rules are much stronger and clearer
with stringent organizer obligations.
"It has been a difficult but rewarding task in trying to
improve the status of the Kenya National Rally Championship
series, which includes the Safari Rally," he remarked.
He said that in the past four years, there have not been
driver protests during the rally where a driver stopped within a
competitive stage and refused to continue.
"There were also no protests on any times given for flying
finishes as we introduced policing at each of the stages and in
addition we have taken rallying to private land, which is
safer," he stated.
The global motorsport governing body has rules that all its
members must adhere to.
One of FIA’s key objectives is to encourage and implement the
adoption of common regulations for all forms of motor sports and
series across the world.
The recently-concluded Classic Safari Rally did not adhere to
some of these rules, which meant that it could not get the WRC
However, Soin pointed out that KMSF cannot do it alone, and
asked all stakeholders to help the federation to campaign for
the Safari Rally to get a WRC status.
Rallying is an expensive sport, a fact which is not lost to
organizers and participants.
Speaking after the conclusion of the Classic Safari Rally in
Mombasa, Soin said that the president of FIA, Jean Todt, had
helped the KMSF to raise 125,000 Euros, which would be used for