Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said the country’s expectation was to see the Safari Rally return to the World Rally Championships on Friday when he flagged off the 51 cars competing.
Kenyatta said the Safari Rally is held in high esteem in Kenya and is very much part of the national psyche, started in 1953 as part of the coronation of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth.
It was part of the World Rally Championship for many years until 2002, when it was axed for lack of finance and government support.
However, the president of International Automobile Federation (FIA) has sworn its support during a visit Kenya 2015 thus the event is now running as a Candidate race for the WRC this year.
Kenyatta said that after this hurdle, the Safari rally will be back in the 14-leg WRC starting 2020.
“Rallying has deep roots in Kenya’s national psyche.
“Many generations of Kenyans were raised against the background of impressive rally races, criss-crossing our nation, and looking up to motoring legends.’’ said Kenyatta on Friday in Nairobi.
Kenyatta added that he was confident that not only will Safari Rally being a full series event for the WRC, but also the Kenyan flag will feature on the winning podium.
“I can confirm that the government through the ministry of sports is eager to lend a hand wherever the industry and sponsors may require.’’ (Xinhua/NAN)