NAIROBI, Kenya 5th July – Deputy President, William Ruto, led the calls of a return to the World Rally Championship (WRC) as the 2013 KCB Safari Rally got off to a ceremonial start on Friday morning in Nairobi.
Ruto flagged off the first 10 machines in the Main Class competition as they returned to the Parc Femme at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) ahead of the proper start of the 61st edition of the epic event at 1 pm.
“With the partnership between the motor sports federation, the ministry responsible for sports and all partners, we must come together and I want to tell you that the Jubilee Government is going to walk with you every step of the way so that we can go back to the World Rally Championship and place Kenya where it rightfully should be as a great sports giant in this part of the continent,” the Deputy President declared in his address ahead of the ceremony.
“I want to ask all the participants, spectators, the people who have come to enjoy themselves as they watch the rally to mind about their safety and the safety of their children and the safety of the rally drivers.
“We all must observe safety as a basic necessity for us to avoid instances where we get accidents. Am sure going forward necessary security arrangements will be made so that this becomes an event without incidents,” he stressed on the subject of security that has dominated the run-up to the event where observers from world governing body FIA are on hand to give it a scorecard.
This will go a long way in determining whether the event that is still part of the Africa Rally Championship roster will get back the coveted WRC billing it lost in 2003.
After the scheduled start, cars will proceed to Nairobi’s Jamhuri Park for the 2.2km spectator stage time trial as eager crew underline their credentials ahead of the event proper on Saturday and Sunday.
Pipeline, Ole Polos, Corner Baridi, Kajiado, Isinya, Konza, Andy’s Corner, Orien and Olkejuado are the areas where the loud, fast and daredevil machines will tear up the tranquillity on Saturday.
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 the survivors of the gruelling event will limp back to Nairobi at 3.30pm.
Once again, battle lines have been drawn between the Mitsubishi Evolution and Subaru makes with the latter nosing ahead in entry numbers. Other models on parade include VW Golf GTI, Toyota Celica, Ford Escort, a Porsche and a tiny Toyota Vitz that will compete in the 2-wheel category.