Former Safari Rally navigator Abdul Sidi is looking forward to the blistering World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally which will see 24 foreign drivers and 34 locals compete in the rally from June 24 to 27 in Naivasha, 91km west of the capital Nairobi.
Abdul who has done 18 Safaris and managed to finish in 15 of them is excited about the return of the global showpiece which will be a navigator’s affair rally due to its technical nature of the terrain.
“Naivasha is now fully ready to welcome the WRC Safari Rally as work looks complete at the Service Park, one of the basic facilities for a world class rally.
The stages are too tight as there are a lot of junctions. You can imagine the speeds these cars do at 200KPH. The WRC car is very powerful, so the navigator has to be keen, very tight, fit and ready call instructions under pressure.”he noted.
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Abdul currently runs ASRA (Abdul Sidi Rally Academy) where he uses his expertise in rallying to train rally drivers, controllers and stage commanders thus creating an avenue for young people to join the sport at a basic level.
“Nobody taught me how to teach rallying, it’s the experience and passion that I have gathered as a navigator with an experience of over 25 years. I have rallied across Africa and as far afield as Malaysia,” he added.
He lauded the commitment by the organizing committees involved in the tournament for their work to oversee Safari Rally’s re-admission to the FIA World Rally Championship calendar by 2020.
“It is been a long journey to make this happen.The team led by CS Amina Mohamed and WRC Project CEO Phineas Kimathi have worked tirelessly to ensure the upcoming competition is a success.Our President himself is a firm supporter of rally having led the country in lobbying for Kenya’s readmision to FIA calendar” said Abdul.
Finland’s Kalle Rovanpera, the 20-year-old son of former WRC champion Harri Rovanpera and a teammate of World champion and Frenchman Sebastien Ogier, will be the youngest driver on show with 2021 WRC Portugal Rally winner Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta completing the WRC Toyota Yaris factory team line-up.
The star-studded rally will also witness the talents of 2019 WRC champion Ott Tanak, Dani Sordo, Thierry Neuville and Pierre-Louis Loubet will lead the charge for the Hyundai Mobis WRC team.
Local interest will be headlined by five-time Safari winner and ARC Equator Rally champion, Carl Tundo in a VW Polo Rally2 with Onkar Rai and Tejveer Rai the other top Kenyan drivers in the German carmaker’s stable.
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