Safari Rally returns to World Championship

Friday September 27 2019

Onkar Rai gave the Volkswagen Polo its first victory on the Kenyan soil by clinching the overall victory of the Chloride Exide-sponsored Hill Climb Event in Naivasha on September 22, 2019. PHOTO | ANWAR SIDI |


Kenya’s Safari Rally is officially back at the World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar.

Safari Rally makes a return to the 2020 WRC calendar after 18 years and will be part of the 14 events in the Series.

The announcement was made by the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) on Friday on its website following an e-vote by the World Motor Sport Council this week.

Safari Rally will be held from July 16 to 19.

Rally Monte-Carlo will open the season, as is tradition, while three new rounds, Rally Kenya, Rally New-Zealand and the season-closing Rally Japan, will make their return to the world stage.

FIA Rally Director Yves Matton commented:


“In order to further globalise the championship, we needed to have more WRC rounds outside Europe. I am glad to see the results of our expansion strategy, with emblematic events such as Kenya and Japan coming back to the WRC calendar next year, alongside New Zealand replacing Australia, while long-standing, iconic European events provide a great balance and preserve the DNA of the sport.

“Following the integration of Chile last year, the 2020 calendar also expands our presence on both the Asian and African continents.

“With the strong interest of many countries to host a WRC round, we had more high-quality candidates than the number of slots available in the calendar, which demonstrates the robust health and popularity of the championship. The rotation system that we are adopting gives us the opportunity to maintain a higher number of good events in the WRC.

“Thanks to the new calendar strategy that was put in place following the World Motor Sport Council in March 2019, we are able to announce the WRC schedule earlier than in recent years and in the future we aim to be in a position to publish it in March."

The 2020 calendar, comprised of 14 rounds, is confirmed as follows:

1. Rally Monte-Carlo (January 23-26),

2.Rally Sweden (February 13-16),

3.Rally Mexico (March 12-15)

4. Rally Chile (April 16-19),

5. Rally Argentina (April 30-May 3),

6. Rally Portugal (May 21-24),

7. Rally Italy (June 4-7),

8. Safari Rally (July 16-19),

9. Rally Finland ( August 6-9),

10. Rally New Zealand (September 3-6),

11. Rally Turkey (September 24-27),

12. Rally Germany (October 15-18),

13. Rally Great Britain (October 29-November 1),

14. Rally Japan (November 19-22)