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New regulations for Jubilee Safari

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NAIROBI, Kenya, June 5 – Long competitive sections proposed by World Rally Championship (WRC) manager Michelle Mouton will feature in this weekend’s 60th KCB Safari Rally.

One of the sections to be used by the rally cars will be an 87km straight in Kajiado, which will be the longest in recent history of the sport.

Speaking at the launch of this year’s competition which is also celebrating its Diamond Jubilee, chairman of the organizing committee Abdul Sidi outlined new regulations in place for the event that was launched as the Coronation Rally in 1952.

“Among the things is to make the stages longer as well as cut out on repetition of stages and there are no loops. For us to create that sort of environment, we need to run the rally in straight lines. This is the new concept with the Safari Rally,” he outlined.

Service points will be distributed along the routes in the rally that will be officially flagged of at Nairobi’s KICC on Friday as Sidi advised spectators that all is not lost with the drivers not repeating stages.

“The only time the stages will be done twice is on the following day when they revisit that area. For the spectators, please do wait for the cars to come back again,” he added.

“There are 80 cars, times three minutes each, 240 minutes, that is 6 hours of waiting for you to see the action.”

Mouton, who last year embarked on changing some elements of the WRC which the Safari was part of until 2002, noted the adopted format of the rally was too standardised.

She highlighted her major project for the world body was to globalize the sport that has nine out of 16 races represented in the circuit across the globe by lobbying for the inclusion of Africa.

Parts of her recommendations were implemented in the Nakuru Rally early this year in the outskirts of Lake Bogoria where the service park was visited once at end of the first competitive stage.

After that, there was a remote service point at the end of the next two stages to allow drivers fix their cars in readiness for the final stage.

In responding to the changes which are now popularly know as the “Mouton Rules,” the new Rallies Commission which took over at the beginning of the year under Sidi has endorsed the new regulations.

The Rally will be flagged off at 1pm on Friday before action commences at Uhuru Park where spectators will be treated to a Special Stage.

The rally then moves to Isinya for the weekend where competitors will tackle a variety of stages, including two runs of a daunting 87Km section that will test the stamina and reliability of crews and machinery alike.The ceremonial finish takes place back in Nairobi on Sunday afternoon from 4pm.

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