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Big bucks: A World Rally Car costs up to Sh106 million

Monday June 29 2020
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Rally officials inspect part of the route for the 2020 WRC Safari Rally at Hells Gate on May 10, 2020. The rally has been rescheduled to next year due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic that has seen many sports competitions postponed or cancelled outright. PHOTO | ANWAR SIDI |

By ABDUL SIDI

The World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally organising team is made up of 13 senior members with combined efforts from the Kenyan government and the Kenya Motor Sports Federation.

The government side is led by Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and Chief Administrative Secretary Hassan Noor.

WRC Safari Rally Chief Executive Officer Phineas Kimathi, who is also the chairman of the Kenya Motor Sports Federation (KMSF), is also part of the team.

Others are Jim Kahumbura (Event Director), Gurvir Bhabra (Clerk of the Course-CoC), Anwar Sidi (Media Safety and Route Liaison), Kimanthi Maingi (Steering Committee), Lilian Ajuoga (Senior Warden Hells Gate National Park), Julius Kabiru (Security), George Mwangi (Deputy CoC), Nazir Yakub (Deputy CoC), Norris Ongalo (Safety) and Antony Gatei (Service Park  Manager).

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Rallying is no exception. Cars typically develop around 300hp, and operate on surfaces that range from well prepared tarmac to gravel, and ice and snow. Crashes will happen. There are no style points here, speed matters.

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A Special Stage (SS) is a section of closed road at a stage rallying event. Racers attempt to complete the stage in the shortest time.

A race on a special stage is coordinated such that each competing racer begins after a set interval, to reduce the chance of impedance by other competitors.

Each Special Stage is a relatively short section, usually up to about 30 miles in length. A rally usually comprises approximately 15–30 Special Stages.

The driver with the lowest overall time for all Special Stages in an event is the winner.

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A road rally is a car rally that takes place on the public road. It is a popular sport in the United Kingdom, especially Wales, and has traditionally been the core of the “grass roots” of club-based amateur motor sport.

In a road rally, competitors compete over a predetermined course against the clock.

Cars start at (usually) one-minute intervals. There is no direct head-to-head racing, and these days the emphasis is very much on navigation and teamwork rather than out-and-out speed.

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World Rally Cars are built on production 1.6-litre four-cylinder cars, but feature turbochargers, anti-lag systems, four-wheel-drive, sequential gearboxes, aerodynamic parts and other enhancements bringing the price of a WRC car to around US$1 million (Sh106,550,000).

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Rally cars do not drift in the proper meaning of the word, drivers tend to use the handbrake on hairpin turns as it’s easier to turn and less time consuming, while drifting as you see on gravel roads (like in Finland) is just to achieve faster speeds through corners.

Did you know that ....

Kenya Motor Sports Federation is the official body appointed by FIA to run Motor Sports in Kenya. Its headquarters is at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani and the chairman is Phineas Kimathi. 

KMSF is represented by 12 clubs.

They are Mombasa Motor Club, Kenya Motor Sports Club, Rallye Sports Club, East African Motor Sports Club, Vintage Car Club of Kenya, Rift Valley Motor Sports Club, Western Kenya Motor Club, Equator Motor Club, Nanyuki Rally Group, E.A. Safari Rally Ltd, Alfa Romeo Club and Sikh Union Club.

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