Nairobi — The 2018 Safari Rally will be a three day event with drivers battling it out around the Naivasha route as the African Rally Championship (ARC) competition that zooms of March 15 promises to be an intriguing one.
Though only 581km long of which 221km km will be timed competitive distance, the topography on the floor of the Rift Valley in Naivasha will offer the perfect ingredients of a World Rally Championships (WRC) event- smooth, demanding gravel roads, according to the chairman of the Organising Committee Phineas Kimathi.
The rally revs off outside the Kenya Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi from 11:00 am on Friday March 15 with the drivers heading to Sopa Lodge in Naivasha, 94km from Nairobi for service followed by a 12km first competitive stage, Aberdare 1.
Sopa will also serve as the rally headquarters. The total distance covered in day one will be 156km including liaison sections.
Day two on Saturday starts at 7:00 am when cars head to Soysambu Ranch for the first stage of the day followed by Sleeping Warrior and Aberdare II.
These stages will be repeated twice for a total of 143 km competitively plus another 162km road sections, said Kimathi who is also the CEO of the government-funded WRC Safari Project established to return Kenya's premier event back to the FIA WRC by 2020.
The final day of the rally will be 31km long Kedong section followed by Aberdare II before finishing at Sopa Lodge by mid day. This route concept has been designed in conformity with modern day WRC format unlike the Safari of the yore.
Kimathi Explained that besides the route, the organisers will run every aspect of the Safari like a WRC rally as the first step of running a Candidate next year.
Kimathi leads a team of 34 officials and hundreds of safety and security marshals in order to meet the challenges of a modern WRC which pays attention to speed, smooth rides and safety in a media driven sport for maximum spectators joy and television viewership appeal.
The Organising Committee of the 2018 WRC Safari Rally Project will pay attention to safety, and security of drivers and fans according to laid down protocols by the International Motorsport Federation (FIA) rules and regulations, said Kimathi.
Kimathi will be assisted by Supee Soin. Gurvir Bhabra is the Clerk of Course, assisted by George Mwangi. The FIA is sending two observers_ Wille du Plessis and Christopher Servant.
Kimathi said the team has already surveyed the routes and mapped it using GPRS to track the competing cars. The FIA has already issued a Visa for staging of the Safari as an ARC round event.
Organising Committee: CEO WRC Safari Rally Project, Chairman of Organising Committee: Phineas Kimathi , Vice chairman, Dr Supinder Singh Soin, Event Director, Ragbir Singh Chatte (Bhire), Event Director: Manjinder Singh Bansal.
FIA Observers: Observer/C of Stewards: Willie Du Plessis (ZAF), FIA Steward: Christopher Servant (CIV), ASN Steward: Bimal Patel (KEN), FIA Delegates & Observers: Observer/C of Stewards, Willie Du Plessis (ZAF), FIA Steward, Willie Du Plessis (ZAF), Christopher Servant (CIV). Technical Delegate: Musa Locho (KEN).
Senior Officials: Clerk Of Course: Gurvir Singh Bhabra , Deputy Clerk of Course: George Mwangi, Assistant Clerk of Course: Onkar Kalsi, Chief Safety Officer: Nazir Yakub, Chief Scrutineer: Jagjeet Patter, Assistant Scrutineer: George K Njuguna (Bruno).
Chief Medical Officer: Dr. Benjamin Wachira, Assistant Medical Officer: Dr. Eric Njenga, Chief Control Officer: Chris Eden,Secretary of Stewards: Wambui Kiiru, Secretary of Event: Helen Shiri, Chief Results Officer: Alexander Kovatchev, Chief Security Officer: Dhruv Shah , Competitors Relation Officer: (International competitors), Kunal Patel. Competitors Relation Officer (Local competitors): Jimmy Wahome.
FIA Liaison: Surinder Thatthi, Communications Officer: Surinder Bharij, Environmental Officer: Maluki Ndetei, 000 Car: Paul Bailey, 00 Car: Jazzy Chana , 0 Car: Hardeep Rehsi, Sweeper Samir Khan Samir, Chief Media Officer: Peter Njenga, Media Officer: Anwar Sidi.