Kenya: President Kenyatta Flags off Safari Rally After 19-year Hiatus

President Uhuru Kenyatta (in white) flags off races

After a 19-year hiatus, Kenya’s famed Safari rally is making a return as President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday flagged off the World Rally Championship at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Nairobi.

The Safari Rally is often regarded as the toughest race in the World Rally Championship because riders have to cover long distances in testing conditions.

Speaking while flagging off the event on Thursday, Mr. Kenyatta said the Safari Rally is a significant event in Kenya’s history and the people of Kenya have bonded with the event.

“In 2013 I made a pledge to my fellow citizens that we would bring the safari rally back home and I also promised that I would return Safari Rally to its position as one of the International Automobile Federation and the World Rally Championships’ toughest rally,” he said.

“This goal has materialized nine years later into the event that we are witnessing today.”

The Kenya Safari Rally is the sixth round of the 2021 World Rally Championship and has attracted 58 entrants from across the globe. It kicked off on Friday, June 25 untill Sunday, June 27.

Kenya last participated in the tournament in 2002 and that has stirred excitement among the citizens who have an interest in the racing sport.

“For us these are exciting times. It’s like the Olympics, that’s the only way I can put it, in fact I feel it’s bigger than the Olympics for us. It’s one of those privileges in motorsport for you to be able to rally, and rally with the best and be able to compare yourself against the best, it’s a ridiculously beautiful feeling”, Greenlife Rally team driver, Evans Kavisi said trying to explain how the enthusiasm surrounding the tournament,

Another driver, Andrew Muirui of Batika rally team, said he is aiming to ease into the competition amid the anxiety trailing the opening.

“I don’t want to put a lot of pressure on myself”, Muirui said. “My plan is just to finish the rally, at whatever position. Of course I try to be competitive.

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