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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenya host Safari Rally as World Championship candidate event

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 registered.

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 America.
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UPDATE:

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 discounted.

"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 Australia.

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.

             

 

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