Safari Rally Kenya will return to the World Rally Championships (WRC) circuit next year, 2021 after it was pushed forward due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Friday decision was arrived at after sustained discussions between the Kenyan Government, WRC Promoter and the International Automobile Association (FIA).
“We are grateful to the Patron, His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta, for his unwavering support and counsel as we deliberated on the next best steps. We also owe exceptional gratitude to the President of the FIA, Mr Jean Todt and the WRC Promoter led by Oliver Ciesla for their unyielding support since we commenced engagements to return the Safari Rally to the WRC Circuit,” Sports CS Amina Mohamed said.
The Sports Secretary stated that all is not as 2021 promises to be a great year for Kenya in the world-rally-championships (WRC) Circuit.
“We will continue to prepare for the event as groundworks are already in top-gear and look forward to welcoming rally professionals, teams and enthusiasts to Kenya.
Sports Principal Secretary Joe Okudo on his part assured the participants of government support.
“The coordinating organs responsible for the preparation for the event are already in place and will continue to work until the event is re-convened,” said Okudo.
CEO of the WRC Safari Rally Project also noted that the organising teams will keep working hard to produce a world class event noting that his team is at advanced stages in completing Service Park located in Nakuru County and iswithin the completion window.
“We have also completed the Event Safety Plan, Itinerary and Supplementary Regulations all delivered within the given FIA and WRC timelines and will move forward to complete all the requisite arrangements. We encourage the drivers and all stakeholders to keep in touch with the secretariat as we ready ourselves for the new dates,” Kimathi said.
Kenya was admitted back to WRC in September last year after Safari Rally was included in the WRC 2020 calendar that comprised of 14 rounds and Kenya was to host the event from July 19, 2020.
The Safari Rally was first held in Kenya in 1953 to commemorate the coronation of Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It began as the East African Safari Rally traversing the three East African countries of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
It later grew to become the toughest Rally in the world that was seen as a real test of man and machine.
In 1973, the rally was admitted to the prestigious FIA World Rally Championship held within boundaries of Kenya. It enjoyed International Automobile Federation World Rally Championship status until 2002 when it was dropped from the World Rally Championship and relegated to the African Rally Championship (ARC).