This year’s Safari Rally has been cancelled.
The World Rally Championship round which was earlier scheduled 14-16 July this year, has now been pushed to 2021.
Following an agreement between the Kenyan government, international motorsport governing body the FIA and the WRC promoter, the decision was reached to cancel the event.
This entirely due to the novel Coronavirus pandemic.
The effects of the pandemic on travel, global economies, mass social engagements were all the basis for the decision.
“Postponing the event to 2021 was not a simple decision to make. However, we assure that the Safari Rally will mark a significant part of our country’s history as was intended for the next three years.
“We will continue to prepare for the event as groundworks are already in top-gear and look forward to welcoming rally professionals, teams and enthusiasts to Kenya when the event is re-convened next year,” said Amina Mohamed, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Sport, Culture and Heritage.
The campaign for a WRC return kicked off in 2017 and the vision was actualized in 2019 when the event was granted a WRC status.
It was hoped the Kenya event would be pushed to September this year. However, the uncertainty around the end of the coronavirus would be a huge impediment.
The Kenya government has confirmed Coronavirus cases in the country had risen to over 700 .
Some of the measures to manage the spread included suspended travel for all persons coming into Kenya from any country with reported Coronavirus cases.
Given the team personnel coming in ahead of the July event, there was no guarantee of safety.
African anticipation halted
The 18-year wait was finally over as the continent looked to get back onto the world series.
Safari Rally was the closest event for Africans to get a chance to enjoy the new generation World Rally cars.
Thousands of fans from across the continents were open to watch the Safari Rally.
Despite the postponement, preparations for a return to Africa will advance till the later date next year.
“We are cognizant of the present global challenges and assure that the Safari Rally will mark a significant part of our country’s history as was intended for the next three years,” added CS Amina Mohamed.
The Safari Rally was first held as a World Rally Championship event in 1973 and that lasted till 2002.