BY KORIR JUMA,NAIROBI,5TH JULY 2019-President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday reaffirmed the government’s commitment in supporting the Safari Rally’s bid to make a comeback to the prestigious World Rally Championship.As away of showing just how serious his promise is ,the head of state presented a cheque of Sh440 million towards the World Rally Championship Safari Project to the project’s chief executive Phineas Kimathi.
Uhuru later flagged off cars competing in this year’s Safari, which is running as a candidate event for the World Rally Championship, at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
The President said the Safari Rally is held in high esteem in Kenya and is very much part of the national psyche.
“With the first Safari Rally having taken place in our country in 1953, rallying has deep roots in Kenya’s national psyche,” Uhuru said.
“Many generations of Kenyans were raised against the background of impressive rally races, criss-crossing our nation, and looking up to motoring legends who distinguished themselves due to their skill, daring and jaw-dropping feats of world class rallying,” the President added.
“My administration is committed to supporting rallying in Kenya. And as so many Kenyans, I am confident that not only will this Safari Rally be a full series event, but also the Kenyan flag will feature on the winning podium in a number of events.”
The President appealed to corporates to support the bid to have the Safari back on the global roster.
“The government, through the Ministry of Sports, is eager to lend whatever support that the industry and sponsors may require,” he said.
The President further acknowledged the support from the International Automobile Federation (FIA) whose president Jean Todt, who is also a United Nations special envoy on road safety, visited State House, Nairobi, in 2015.
“The logistical and technical support that we have received from the FIA has not only made this event possible, but also deepened Kenya’s capacity to deliver world class rallying experiences,” the president said.
“We are committed to meeting all International Automobile Federation regulations, standards and requirements so that Kenya may once again feature at the apex of global rallying,” he assured.
Sports Cabinet secretary Amina Mohammed, the World Rally Championship Safari Project chief executive Phineas Kimathi and WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla all paid glowing tribute to efforts being made to reclaim the Safari’s place on the WRC roster.
The rally’s organisers, fans and also delegates from the FIA will be looking forward to a well-run rally that will help Kenya bounce back onto the international calendar.