MOTORSPORT NEWS Rally

FIA president Todt backs Kenya to roll back to WRC

The President of the International Automobile Federation Jean Todt, will officially open the WRC Safari Rally Project Headquarters on Tuesday, at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

The nerve centre of the government-funded initiative is set to fast track Kenya’s bid to return the Safari back to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) by 2020.

Todt, who jetted in this morning for a two-day official visit in Kenya, is on a stopover in Nairobi enroute to Uganda for a UN engagement.

Upon arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Todt was received by the Chief Executive Officer of the WRC Safari Rally Project Phineas Kimathi

Among the issues Todt pointed on Kenya was road safety as well as the deviation from the public roads to private land rallying.

“If all the processes are followed we see no reason why Kenya cannot make it back to the WRC. So far we are very impressed with the Kenya National Rally Championship as one of the best run events in Africa.

“However, the new standards of rallying must be respected. What was possible back then when events ran on open roads is not possible these days with the grown population. Rallies must now be organized on closed roads,” Todt said.

In the same vein, the FIA boss lauded efforts by the Kenyan Government to match the international rally standards locally, albeit noting there is a lot to be done.

“We are happy that the Government of Kenya through President Uhuru Kenyatta has been very supportive of the,” he added.

In response to the position of the Safari Rally in a 2016 Press Conference Todt revealed Africa is a very key region for the FIA in terms of rallying but added the necessary guarantees set by the FIA will have to be met.

Todt later met with directors of the Kenya Motor Sport Federation (KMSF) and the President of Automobile Association of Kenya (AA) Jinaro Kibet who was accompanied by his Director General Francis Theuri in a working luncheon at Villa Rosa Kempinski.

On his part, Kimathi said it was an honour for Todt, third in 1973 Safari Rally navigating Swede Ove Andersson in a Peugeot 504, to accept opening the Safari headquarters tomorrow and discuss at length the Safari Rally subject with government and motorsport authorities

This is his third visit to Kenya since 2015 and has been engaged by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Motorsport officials on a future WRC Safari Rally.