Oliver Ceisla Credit: Africa Rally Archives
[/media-credit] Oliver Ciesla (M) with KMSF president Phineas Kimathi (2nd R) and other officials Credit: Africa Rally Archives

The Safari Rally could in the near future be run as a World Rally Championship (WRC) event.

The 2018 edition of the famous rally ran on 16-18 March in Naivasha, Kenya. It was dubbed the WRC Safari Rally Project.

Now, WRC promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla and Simon Lack say there is potential in having the event back on the World Series.

“What we saw is enough optimism to believe that this can be built. With the preconditions available it gives us confidence that we can move on. So far we are impressed. Naivasha has proved to have some elements,” said Ciesla.

“Particularly we look at the structural standards like hotels, do they have enough to accommodate a big number of people. We observed some other elements but we cannot judge them yet.”

[/media-credit] Oliver Ciesla Credit: Africa Rally Archives

Kenya’s bid for a WRC slot however faces competition from other countries like Japan and Canada eyeing to join the world series.

“We feel obliged to consider what we think is good for the development of the championship. We try to build a calendar of snow, sand, hot, cold and at the moment Safari is missing and the continent Africa is missing as well.

“As WRC, it would be a dream to have all continents. So we ticked two boxes, Safari and the continent.

“FIA is in favour of Safari rally proposal. And their objectives is the same as ours for the calendar event. Since this is the only event we have inspected, we shall focus on that for now,” he asserted.

Ciesla further shared the benefits a host country gets from WRC.

“WRC attracts over four millions in the thirteen events. If Kenya gets WRC, a big number of fans will come from Uganda, Tanzania, other African countries as well as from Europe and beyond.

“This means the region of Naivasha will reap more from hotels, taxis, rentals. It’s a big business for the country as well.

“WRC provides minimum of six hour TV programme to feature the country and it’s physical features not empathizing on motorsport alone. This is the return that us the promotors bring to the country,” he asserted.

[/media-credit] Simon Larkin Credit: Africa Rally Archives

Meanwhile, the natural features topped Ciesla’s highlights of Safari rally.

“We were very pleased to see how the pictures. It was almost as we have it in our fantasy. The nature, wild life, made the whole event wonderful.”

“I was also so pleased to see the passion of the people supporting the sport. It was a very positive surprise seeing that.  They were willing to learn and to lifting the calendar into qualification and to a higher level. So the preconditions are really good for us.”

If Kenya succeeds, it will be allocated a candidate event in 2019 before a full WRC event could return in 2020.

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