Kenya: Officials Map Out Safari Rally Route

Tavjeer Rai, navigated by Gavin Laurence, tackles a wet section in Kajiado in a Volkswagen Polo during the Guru Nanak Rally in February (file photo).
7 January 2020

Organisers of the Safari Rally are in the process of finalising the route for the championship.

The itinerary for the July contest has already been released as Kenya prepares to celebrate the return of the Safari Rally to the World Rally Championship (WRC).

For the last few days, some of the senior officials of the Kenya Motor Sports Federation (KMSF), who are part of the team working on the planned route, want to to ensure it is in compliance with the strict rules of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) - the world motorsport governing body.

KMSF president Phineas Kimathi and fellow official Jim Kahumbura joined the team, that includes the Clerk of the Couse, Gurvir Bhabra, assisted by George Mwangi, Nazir Yakub and Anwar Sidi, for the route marking at the weekend.

Yakub said their plans are working well and they were looking forward to a successful return of the Safari Rally to the WRC calendar.

The rally will take place from July 16 to 19.

"Our plans are well on course to stage a successful modern WRC round in Africa after an absence of almost two decades.

"The programme will start with the official reconnaissance of the route from July 13 to July 15. The "shakedown" (a dress rehearsal of the rally) will follow on July 15 in the afternoon at Naivasha," Yakub told Nation Sport.

"The event will officially start on July 16, from the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC). The rest of the action will be covered on July 17 to July 19.

The championship will have 19 competitive stages, including the Super Spectator Stage at Kasarani.

FIA is represented by Iain Campbell and Joao Passos who have constantly kept an eye on the work done by the Kenyan team. Both Campbell and Passos arrived in the country few days ago.

Campbell is from the World Rally Great Britain and Passos is from Rally Portugal. The two officials are seconded by the FIA and the WRC associates.

The team is in Kenya to try and confirm the proposed route and itinerary for the July event with regard to WRC requisites and sporting characteristics that are mandatory for a modern WRC and its international audience.

FIA finally granted Kenya the World Rally Championship status for the 2020 season towards the end of last season. The licence has now put Kenya back into the limelight of the global racing after losing the WRC status in 2002 when the late Colin McRae last won the Safari Rally.

The World Rally Championship is a rallying series organised by the FIA, culminating in a champion driver, co-driver and manufacturer.

The driver's world championship and manufacturer's world championship are separate competitions, but based on the same point system.

Until now, the Safari Rally has only played as a strong part of the African Rally Championship series since being dropped from the WRC status in 2002.

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