NAIROBI, June 27 (Xinhua) -- Kenya is ready to host the 2019 iconic Safari as a candidate event for the World Rally Championship (WRC) with over 12 foreign drivers registered.
WRC Safari Rally Kenya project CEO Phineas Kimathi said Thursday that the country has met all the regulations and standards set by the Federation Automobile Association (FIA) towards the hosting of the event. Besides being a WRC candidate event, the Safari will also serve as the fourth round of the African Rally Championship.
"For the last one year we have worked tirelessly to meet all the FIA conditions, I am glad to present a well-planned and safe 2019 Safari Rally," said Kimathi.
This year's Safari rally will be staged in Nairobi and Naivasha and will see crews drive off the ramp from July 5-7. It will be the first time that the FIA will be hosting a Candidate Event in the African continent which is a precursor to a fully-fledged World Rally Championship Safari from 2020.
Two international WRC teams Hyundai and Ford MK Sports will do the Recce during this year's event in readiness for next year's world rally Championship event in Kenya.
Drivers will traverse the vast Nairobi and Naivasha areas next weekend. Africa champion Manvir Baryan, fast-rising Onkar Rai (Skoda Fabia) and Zambian ace Leroy Gomes (Ford Fiesta R5) are among others confirmed drivers.
UK based M Sport team (MSA) trainers have been conducting training for over 300 marshals for the last two months on safety aspects of the rally including vehicle extraction techniques at the Safari rally headquarters in Nairobi.
Ford, now racing under M Sport Team won the 2018 WRC drivers title through Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia. Toyota won the manufactures title. WRC has 14 rounds in Asia, Australia, Europe and South America.