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WRC return pegged on Rally scorecard

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ALASTAIR AIRBORNENAIROBI, Kenya, July 4- The 61st edition of the KCB Safari Rally zooms off on Friday with the event under scrutiny whether it is fit to be re-admitted to the World Rally Championships (WRC) Series.

Motor Sport governing body, FIA observer Ronan Morgan says it is premature to state whether Kenya is ready to return to the high table of the sport following the removal of the Safari from the WRC roster in 2003.

However, he added the next three days will be important in making a conclusion on the readiness of the country being included in the calendar.

“I think it’s too early to say if Kenya can get back hosting rights for one of the WRC events but once this event is concluded, we can have a clear picture,” said Morgan.

“For Kenya to be back, the organisation must be professional and up to the world standards,” added the Motor Sport Director in the United Arab Emirates.

FIA technical delegate, Vinen Goricha, says the planning of this year’s even has stepped up compared to recent past.

“We have improved on security, equipment and marshals. We know there is more to be done but we are learning a lot,” he added.

Goricha says all the cars have arrived and ready for the competition that will be flagged off at the traditional venue, the Nairobi’s Kenyatta International Conference Centre at 1pm local time (+3GMT) before heading to Jamhuri Park, 11.9km away.

The second day will take the drivers to Pipeline, Ole Polos, Corner Baridi, Kajiado, Isinya, Konza, Andy’s Corner, Orien and Olkejuado.

Sunday will pose the major test for the drivers in a run that starts at Il Bissel all the way to Parane which is the longest stage covering 84km, Isinya, Konza, Andy’s Corner and finally they will be back in Nairobi at 3.30pm.

Defending champion Carl Tundo, navigated by Tim Jessop out to retain the title with another 40 competitors seeking to dethrone him.

Veteran Ian Duncan, who won the Safari when it was in the WRC in 1994 and Alastair Cavenagh also in a Mitsubishi Evo 9 are among the key challengers.

Local championship leader Baldev Charger, continental champion Essa Mohammed from Zambia and his compatriot Jassy Singh who is the current leader in the Africa Rally Championships competition are other top drivers to look out for.

The Supplementary and Classic class competitions have attracted 33 entries.

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