Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba has appealed to the local drivers to strive to put in a great showing during the World Rally Championship Safari Rally slated for June 22 to 25 in Naivasha, Nakuru County.
Speaking on Tuesday at the sponsorship announcement of the WRC Safari Rally for the third consecutive year by the CFAO Motors (formerly Toyota Kenya),Namwamba reiterated government’s commitment to support more local drivers to participate in the global rallying spectacle which has attracted 33 participants so far.
“We are going to roll up a number of initiatives that are key to the bottom up economic transformation of our agenda. We want to see a stronger Kenyan flavour in the rally, not for the foreign drivers to dominate, so we are encouraging a high number of local drivers to enter the race. We also want to see more women in rally and the government will be supporting three women teams for the event. Together with the joint partnership of the government, KCB, Safaricom and Toyota, I’m sure we will produce a great and memorable Safari Rally,” Ababu said
The Kenyan hunt for glory will be led by African rally champion cum Chairman of the WRC Safari Rally Organising Committee Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo.
The renowned motorsport icon said he would light up the country’s streets and jungles with a spectacular event that would probably surpass everyone’s expectations.
Other local drivers expected to grace the event include Kenya National Rally Championship winner Karan Patel navigated by his long term partner Tauseef Khan in a Ford Fiesta Rally 2.
Nikhil Sachania is the only confirmed paraplegic driver in Africa who has a custom-built rally car with no foot pedals and will be co-driven by Deep Patel in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X NR4.
“The good thing is that we have already secured a sponsorship for our participation in the rally, what now remains are several test drives in Athi River before we descend to Naivasha for the completion,”said Sachania.
The government has already disclosed its plans of sponsoring the promising FIA Young Star drivers namely Jeremiah, Wahome/Victor Okundi, Hamza Anwar/Adnan Din and McRae Kimathi/Mwangi Kioni.
The Safari will follow most routes of last year with minor changes including scrapping the Narasha open roads stage over the hills overlooking the Ol Karia Geothermal wells.
The start has been switched from the KICC to Uhuru Park to coincide with the Hustlers Bazaar week bringing together ordinary Kenyans in an open market fanfare as part of the 70th-anniversary celebrations.