Head of World Rally Championship promoter to step down

In Summary

Ciesla, who played a central role in Safari Rally’s return to the WRC last year, has told Nation Sport he is leaving the company with fond memories of Kenya. He is full of praise for President Uhuru Kenyatta for the head of state’s overwhelming support for Kenya’s bid for WRC status.

“I am impressed by the passion and the commitment shown by the fans in Kenya and East Africa, by the high interest of the media and by the dedication of the people working on the Safari Rally Project, led by the CEO Phineas Kimathi, and by the overwhelming support from President Uhuru Kenyatta and the authorities involved,” said Ciesla, who has played a key role in preparation for the Safari Rally since 2016.

In an exclusive interview with Nation Sports, Ciesla on Wednesday said he has decided to step down from his role as managing director of WRC Promoter GmbH.

He is optimistic that, as part of the WRC, Safari Rally will find a niche in the global television market of more than 800 million viewers who follow the WRC annually. However, he couldn’t confirm if the championship will reach 1 billion people this year.

He said: “We cannot say yet how the return of the WRC to Africa will influence global audience numbers. But I am optimistic that the Safari Rally unique pictures and wildlife expected from the beautiful region around Lake Naivasha will contribute to the popularity of the WRC TV programmes around the world. We also assume that the WRC’s followers in East Africa itself will grow.”