Africa Gets Over U.S.$1 Million FIA Funding

Eighteen African countries benefited from 900,000 Euros (Sh115.2 million) in grants from the International Motorsports Federation ((FIA) last year.

FIA vice president Surinder Thatthi, who is in charge of Africa, disclosed Tuesday that each of the 18 countries including Kenya, received 50,000 Euros (Sh6.4 million) in donation through Sports Funding Commission for the development of motorsports.

Thatthi said that the assistance has been in place for the last six years with countries expected to apply for the funding, which has transformed the game across the continent.

Thatthi was speaking on the sidelines of the 2021 Sports Regional Congress Africa that was officially opened by FIA president Jean Todt and Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Amina Mohamed at Trademark Hotel, Nairobi.

Thirty eight delegates drawn from 15 Africa countries are attending the two-day congress coinciding with the preparations for the World Rally Championship Safari Rally starting Thursday in Nairobi.

Also in attendance are 14 FIA staff with seven joining the meeting virtually.

"This is a good sum of money that has helped develop and train especially upcoming drivers in member countries," said Thatthi, adding that the congress dealt with many issues affecting the growth of motorsport in the continent.

Thatthi added that the congress discussed Africa Rally Championships (ARC) and the 2022 regulations where drastic changes were proposed.

After doing the Equator Rally in April, Thatthi noted that they found many problems with regulations that didn't suit the Africa Series.

For instance, Thatthi explained that in Europe, they have 20-30 quality drivers with good cars, but in Kenya during the Equator Rally, they had 10 good cars, but only five were deemed eligible to drive at the ARC.

"Strange enough the other fives, which were remaining were equally fast, but were drawn behind the slow drivers, hence not healthy for a good competition," said Thatthi. "This compromised safety and its good FIA has recognised that."

Africa countries also expressed their dissatisfaction with the monopoly of Rotex that is the sole supplier of Karting equipment for Karting Championships in Africa.

"Rotex controls everything in East, Central and Southern Africa ranging from prices of equipment and events. We are not happy since things are expensive and we want affordable equipment to develop the game in Africa,"said Thatthi.

Through the FIA Rally Star program, three upcoming Kenya drivers- Jeremy Wahome, McRae Kimathi and Hamsa Anwar received Ford Fiesta R3 Cars .


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