One of the oldest motoring and popular events, Kenya’s Safari Rally, is officially back at the World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar after 17 years. Concerted efforts and intense lobbying by the government and motoring stakeholders saw this year’s Safari Rally, held in July, run as a Candidate event without any safety issues. It was a clear indication that Kenya was ready to reclaim its status in the WRC Series.
The government’s commitment, and especially President Uhuru Kenyatta’s personal intervention to have Safari Rally back to WRC must be commended. The government has allocated some Sh440 million to the cause, which has been inspiring for the journey that started in 2013.
Kenya is bound to benefit immensely from the Safari Rally as a WRC event, what with massive media coverage and an influx of motoring tourists. For the duration of the race, Kenya will be basking in the glory of global limelight.
But a lot of work has to be done to deliver a successful event. The country’s road safety standards, both for rally cars and spectators, will come under scrutiny during next year’s Safari Rally, which will run on closed roads and private farms in July. We believe the Kenya Motor Sports Federation has been on top of the game to ensure that all runs well.
Phineas Kimathi, CEO of the WRC Safari Rally Project, must ensure that work continues so that next year’s rally succeeds and gives justification for the return to WRC.
That is what will ensure Safari Rally’s sustainability on the WRC calendar since the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) can easily revoke the status if Kenya falls short in delivering in some aspects.