President Uhuru Kenyatta has said Kenya is adequately prepared to welcome back the World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally, which kicks off in a week’s time.
At the same time, the President urged Kenyan motorsport enthusiasts who will be attending the four-day rally to behave well, saying it had taken the country negotiations and preparations to bring back the WRC event after 18 years.
“It was 2010, when we started trying to work with WRC to ask them to get back. There were a lot of hurdles along the way. The preparations have been intense and I want to thank all agencies, our private sector, and rally enthusiasts who have given their time and effort to ensure that this event takes place.
“My hope and my prayer is that the manner in which we shall conduct ourselves over the next few days will be such that everybody will accept and understand that the Safari Rally is now here and is here to stay, and we’re not likely to lose it. But that will depend on not only with how you all perform, all the agencies involved will perform but how Kenyans themselves will behave,” the President said.
The Head of State spoke on Thursday at State House, Nairobi, when he presented brand new rally cars to young Kenyan drivers Hamza Anwar (22), McRae Kimathi (26) and Jeremy Wahome (22). The three drivers have been sponsored by Safaricom and Kenya Airways.
The President wished the young drivers success in the Safari Rally and in future local and international motorsports, telling them to always be good ambassadors Kenya.
At the event attended by CEOs Peter Ndegwa (Safaricom), Allan Kilavuka (Kenya Airways), and Joshua Oigara (KCB), the President urged the Kenyan corporate sponsors of the 2021 WRC Safari Rally to continue supporting the event in the future to ensure Kenya retains it.
“To all the sponsors, thank you very much. Please don’t treat this as a one-off event, mark it in your annual budgetary calendars. We will be looking to you to help us maintain this rally here in Kenya,” the President said.
Sports CS Amina Mohamed, who also spoke at the event attended by motorsport veterans Ian Duncan and Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo, thanked President Kenyatta for his personal involvement in lobbying for the return of the WRC Safari Rally.
“Thank you for bringing the rally back home. We are extremely grateful to you,” CS Amina told the President, adding that the return of WRC Safari Rally would re-ignite Kenya’s motorsport heritage.
Also present at ceremony were Sports PS Joe Okudo and Safari Rally CEO Phineas Kimathi, among other motorsport officials and enthusiasts.