NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 26 – Top world rally drivers will descend on the picturesque Kenyan terrain as the country prepares to host a World Rally Championship (WRC) candidate event next year.
The impending development will come amidst changes that have been effected by the Kenya Motor Sports Federation (KMSF) for the country to realign itself with the International Motor Sports Federation (FIA) standards.
KMSF President and WRC Project Chief Executive Officer Phineas Kimathi hinted that leading WRC drivers will use the candidate event to recce the route “ostensibly to familiarize themselves with the conditions in Africa”.
Legendary rally driver Michele Mouton who is also the FIA Race Director is expected in the country to inspect the routes that have been earmarked for the candidate rally which will be held during the first week of July, 2019.
“Mouton will inspect the three blocks of the route around Kajiado, Nanyuki, Naivasha and Nakuru; and will recommended accordingly after the end of her visit,” said Kimathi.
The changes made to the 2019 National Competition Rules (NCRs) are meant to give the country the requisite impetus to be considered as a host of the WRC leg by FIA in 2020.
Kimathi said KNRC organisers will create spectator friendly areas with the introduction of ‘power stage’ concept in 2019, “thereby providing better access to the drivers and media”.
“The power stage is a new concept introduced by the FIA and it is held either in the first or last stages basically to motivate drivers where the winner is usually given bonus points.
“Drivers will earn additional 5 points for winning the powere stage and bring Rally more to the people,” said Kimathi.
He added that the Board approved changes to the 2019 Rally Sport Sporting Regulations to scrap the National B13 class introduced in 2018.
“This is to align the KMSF with the FIA classes for the homologated cars. The distance between refuels has also been increased from 80 KMS to a 100 KMS maximum, to enable organisers to explore longer and vast stages KMSF have revised the percentage of participation to be eligible for championship from 75% to 80%, this is to encourage the competitors to participate in more events,” said Kimathi.
Proposals to improve the current Rally Raid Championship were approved by the Board, Kimathi added.
“A general outline for Sporting Regulations to improve the route design was agreed. Details of the route to be used during each day of the race are now defined.”
“A strategy and action plan for the future of drifting was also presented for implementation by 2020, which outlined the intention to form a KMSF Drifting Commission for 2019 to support in developing grassroots programmes, by 2020 over and above improving the quality and organizational level of the Drifting sport,” he added.
Following the acceptance of the perception of Hill Climb events in 2018, the introduction of new Hill climb Commission was approved, to prepare for 2019 Championship:
The Board also agreed to set up a Developing Motorsports Grassroots and Budget Racing Committee to be headed by legendary Rally driver Azar Anwar to look into a cheaper /affordable car class that can be; homologated through the KMSF in order to promote motorsport in the grassroots level, in an effort to increase participation in the national championship events.
The introduction of new KMSF appeals court was approved to look into competitors grievances.