Test of endurance as Safari Rally Championship beckons
The 2018 Africa Championship Safari Rally will be a compact three- day event in a route inviting drivers to gas their machines to the limits of velocity.
“Though only 581km long of which 221km km will be timed competitive distance, the topography on the floor of the Rift Valley in Naivasha will offer the perfect ingredients of a World Rally Championships event –smooth, demanding gravel roads,” the chairman of the Organising Committee Phineas Kimathi said.
The rally zooms off outside the Kenya Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi from 11:00 am on Friday, March 15 with the drivers heading to Sopa Lodge in Naivasha, 94km from Nairobi for service followed by a 12km first competitive stage, Aberdare 1.
Sopa will also serve as the rally headquarters. The total distance covered in day one will be 156km including liaison sections.
“Day two on Saturday starts at 7:00 am when cars head to Soysambu Ranch for the first stage of the day followed by Sleeping Warrior and Aberdare II.
“These stages will be repeated twice for a total of 143 km competitively plus another 162km road sections,” said Kimathi who is also the CEO of the government-funded WRC Safari Project established to return Kenya’s premier event back to the FIA WRC by 2020.
The final day of the rally will be 31km long Kedong section followed by Aberdare II before finishing at Sopa Lodge by mid-day. This route concept has been designed in conformity with modern day WRC format unlike the Safari of the yore.
Kimathi explained that besides the route, the organisers will run every aspect of the Safari like a WRC rally as the first step of running a Candidate next year.
Kimathi leads a team of 34 officials and hundreds of safety and security marshals in order to meet the challenges of a modern WRC which pays attention to speed, smooth rides and safety in a media-driven sport for maximum spectators joy and television viewership appeal.
“The Organising Committee of the 2018 WRC Safari Rally Project will pay attention to safety, and security of drivers and fans according to laid down protocols by the International Motorsport Federation (FIA) rules and regulations,”said Kimathi.