African countries, especially Kenya, deserve a round of the World Rally Championship (WRC). But that comes with high expectations and challenges.
Kenya will have to prove to Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) in the next few months that it is ready to host a WRC event in 2020. The WRC Safety Delegate Michelle Mouton might have given Kenya thumps up in its preparations for this year’s Safari Rally, which is a WRC candidate event, but the country must not sleep on its laurels.
After visiting the route, Mouton gave recommendations that must be fulfilled to make this year’s Safari Rally scheduled for July 5-7 a success. Mouton wants the routes to be toughened and distance increased to provide a truly tough experience as was the case with the old Safari.
Mouton, the chairperson of Women in Motorsport Commission of the FIA, was in Naivasha where she was driven through the proposed Kedong section in a private land on to the Soysambu section and Nakuru and Baringo counties.
Mouton, third in the 1983 Marlboro Safari Rally, was in Kenya as part of the FIA team inspecting preparations made for this year’s Safari Rally.
Phineas Kimathi, the CEO of the WRC Safari Rally Project, must ensure that work continues and the proposed changes are effected to make the circuit more competitive and safe.
WRC wants to see the Safari Rally as a true test of man and machine. Although a WRC Safari will be shortened to around 500km spread over three days, it must remain hard work for the current crop of rally competitors who are so evenly matched that in some events they are separated by milliseconds.