Safaricom Tuesday unveiled a Sh17.5 million sponsorship for three drivers nominated to compete in the Safari Rally and select World Rally Championship (WRC) events under the International Motorsport Federation (FIA) Rally Star Programme open to young promising drivers aged 27 and below.
In a colourful ceremony at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani the company also unveiled three Ford Fiesta R3 rally machines McRae Kimathi, Hanza Anwar and Jeremy Wahome will drive in the June 24-27 WRC Safari Rally.
In addition, the Telco will also provide a helicopter for the drivers and logistical support at a cost of Sh2.5 million.
The Ford Festa is a 1600CC car developing 215 BHP, reaching 0-100kph in 5 seconds and 185Kph top speed.
The cars have been prepared for the Safari in Poland, and are classified in the third-tier group from a technical perspective after Rally1 cars for manufacturers and R2 entered by professional teams who are eligible to score points by competing in at least five WRC rallies in Europe.
Anwar, son of veteran rally driver Asad Anwar, surprised the established order by finishing fifth in the recent Africa Championship (ARC) Equator Rally. He looks poised to follow the footsteps of his father and uncle Azar Anwar.
"It is a great opportunity to get this chance. We will make it to the end through consistency," said the 22-year-old driver, the youngest to ever finish in the Equator Rally.
Jeremy Wahome has enjoyed an impressive career in circuit racing, with experience from the British and Malaysian circuits.
"Motorsport is a great game, and this opportunity is going to nurture us to be great drivers," said Wahome, who started go-kart racing in Nakuru before graduating to the circuit with the ultimate aim of entering F1.
Kimathi, son of Phineas, the WRC Safari Rally CEO said: "This is a good chance to represent Kenya and Africa. It is a dream come true to race in the WRC."
Kimathi finished fifth in the 2019 Meru Rally. His career best recorded performance was when he was the youngest finisher in 2019 WRC Candidate Event Safari and was 8th in the Equator Rally.
Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa said the company has invested over Shh1 billion to empower and showcase talent and they were proud to be associated with Safari.
The chief guest Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said the Safari Rally is a Kenyan event and thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta for being in the forefront of ensuring that the championship returned back to the WRC after 19 years.
Kimathi said the future of the Safari will not be bright without nurturing of young drivers.