Kenya back in the WRC Rally circuit — President Uhuru confirms

President Uhuru Kenyatta flagging off the Safari Rally Championship | PHOTO COURTESY

President Uhuru Kenyatta :

“The Safari Rally as it is known today was first held in Kenya in 1953 to commemorate the coronation of Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.  It started as the East African Safari Rally traversing the three East African countries of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.  The Rally developed to become the toughest Rally in the world and was regarded as a true test of man and machine.

In 1973, the Safari was admitted to the prestigious International Automobile Federation (FIA) World Rally Championship (WRC) held within the boundaries of Kenya.

The Safari Rally continued to enjoy the International Automobile Federation World Rally Championship status until the year 2002 when the event was dropped from the World Rally Championship and relegated to the African Rally Championship (ARC).

Before my Administration assumed office in 2013, I made a promise to the people of Kenya, to return the Safari Rally back to the International Automobile Federation World Rally Championship family.  This process has taken us seven years.

It is my pleasure today to announce to the people of Kenya and Africa that this process has been concluded and the Safari Rally has been included in the International Automobile Federation World Rally Championship 2020 Calendar, marking the return of the World Rally Championship to Kenya and Africa, after 18 years of waiting.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the President of the International Automobile Federation, Mr. Jean Todt, the World Rally Championship Promoter Mr. Oliver Ciesla, the Chairman of the Kenya Motorsports Federation, Mr. Phineas Kimathi and the Directors and Technical teams, for working with my Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage through the World Rally Championship Safari Rally project, to deliver this iconic event that forms part of our national heritage.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Chief of Staff, Nzioka Waita (Left). Waita is also a reknown safari rally driver | PHOTO COURTESY

My Administration will continue to work with the relevant bodies to ensure that the 2020 Safari Rally and successive events thereafter are hosted successfully.

It is, therefore, my pleasure to lead all the people of Kenya in welcoming the 2020 International Automobile Federation World Rally Championship Kenya Safari Rally back to our Land and Nation.”