If Kenya Motorsport Federation (KMSF) succeeds in convincing the World Rally Championship (WRC) promoter that there is value in having the event back to Africa during next year’s candidature meeting, the global attraction will make a return in 2020 through to 2022.
After 17 years of waiting, Kenya was finally handed a candidature event that is slated for the first weekend of July 2019. The success of the event will then determine whether the 13-round global circuit makes a return to Africa with a leg in Kenya.
“The Kenyan bid for the return of WRC was agreed on in August 2016 in Ethiopia and further certified in Abuja in 2017. All African countries are behind Kenya in this bid and a win for us will be a win for the continent.
After the expiry of the three years agreed on, WRC has the liberty for reconsider which event to run and only then can we re-negotiate,” said KMSF president and WRC Project Chief Executive Officer Phineas Kimathi.
With all planning being done at the convenience of governing body FIA and WRC, legendary French rally driver Michele Mouton who is the global governing body FIA’s race director is expected in the country, tentatively in January, where she will inspect the routes earmarked for the candidate event.
“Three blocks have been proposed to host the Safari, Kajiado, Nanyuki and Naivasha/Nakuru. Mouton will recommend the most appropriate route after her visit, with availability of facilities obligatory to hosting a global event of such magnitude influencing her decision,” added Kimathi.
Kimathi was speaking during the federation’s briefing set to announce the 2019 calendar and National Competition Regulations (NCRs) as well as the country’s preparedness for the WRC candidature.
KMSF has made changes to the Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) NRCs in a bid to realign themselves with the FIA standards.
The B13 racing class introduced last season has been scrapped from the 2019 season. The distance between refuels has been increased from the current 80km to 100km while the participation percentage to be eligible for the title has been moved from 75 to 80 percent.
“New fuel tanks have been introduced for homologated cars that will allow cars hold more fuel thus the increase in refuel distances. The change in participation percentage is also meant to encourage drivers to participate in more events,” said Kimathi.
Additionally, KMSF has introduced a ‘Power Stage’ in spectator friendly dedicated stages in each leg. The Power Stage is a new concept introduced by FIA as a motivation for drivers to working on their driving skills. The spectator stages will be made longer than they currently are and the winner of the dedicated Power Stage will earn five additional championship points.