Kenyan officials to learn from Rally of Turkey

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Kenyan officials to learn from Rally of Turkey

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By John Kwoba

NAIROBI, July 25 (Xinhua) -- Kenya will send 12 technical officials to the Rally of Turkey to observe the organization of the event as they look forward to hosting the 2019 Safari Rally as a "candidate event" for the World Rally Championships (WRC).

Phineas Kimathi, chairman of the Kenya Motorsports Foundation (KMSF) said the selected officials will lead the organization of next year's Safari Rally, which has been endorsed by the International Automobile Federation (FIA), as a "candidate event" before it is promoted to the WRC in 2020.

"We shall send 12 technical officials to the Rally of Turkey (Sept. 13-16). This is important as it will make sure that everyone who is in the WRC Safari Rally Project has exposure and an opportunity to learn from the international events," said Kimathi, on Wednesday in Nairobi.

The Safari Rally, which was first held in 1954 as part of Queen Elizabeth's coronation, was part of the longer version of the WRC but was axed in 2002 due to a lack of government and financial sponsorship and concerns over safety.

However, President Uhuru Kenyatta has taken it upon himself to bid for the reinstatement of the rally to the global arena. The FIA President Jean Todt visited Kenya on three occasions before the event was granted WRC candidate status in Paris last month.

The Kenyan government has set aside 2 million U.S. dollars towards the WRC Safari Rally Project and more will be required to host the competition in 2019 and 2020.

"The Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Rashid Echesa is the chairman of the project's steering committee and will also gain from the exposure in Turkey," said Kimathi.

Kimathi will also be traveling to Europe for this weekend's Rally in Finland, where he will serve as an FIA observer.

Kenya will have to implement drastic changes to comply with the stringent FIA requirements on safety of fans and drivers, while still maintaining the excitement and adventure that the rally is known to offer.

"This is a modern-era Safari. Traditional open-road competitive sections have been replaced by smoother special stages in private estates and conservancies and a comprehensive safety plan is in place to support a rally organized under the current WRC format," said Oliver Ciesla, the promoter of the WRC in Paris last month.

Source: Google News Kenya | Netizen 24 Kenya

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