NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 4 – The Federation Internationale de l’automobile (FIA) and the commercial rights holder of the World Rally Championship, WRC Promoter, have seconded two technical experts who arrive in Nairobi on Tuesday to start working alongside Kenyans to deliver a top notch WRC Candidate Event in 2019.
Finnish Jarmo Lehtinen, a veteran navigator with 15 WRC victories as co-driver to former Ford and Citroën star Mikko Hirvonen, and Briton Iain Campbell, 2018 GB WRC Welsh Rally Clerk-of-Course and Managing Director of the British Rally Championshipwill review all organizational framework and input expertise to bring Kenyan officials up to speed with all aspects regarding the running of a modern-day WRC.
Safari lost the WRC status in 2002 but indications are clear it shall be back next year.
Campbell is an avowed motorsport enthusiast and will be bringing a wealth of from GB WRC Welsh Rally and the active British motorsport industry.
He tweeted on Monday: “This week heading to Nairobi to work with the Safari Rally organizers on the WRC Candidate event running in July this year. The plan is for this iconic event return to the WRC in 2020.”
He arrives on Wednesday morning while Lehtinen is expected on Tuesday evening.
The Finn played a key role within the Toyota Gazoo WRC team set-up since the Japanese manufacturer’s WRC return in 2017. After competing and working with Toyota, Lehtinen has also been a consultant with the Rally Finland.
The appointment of the two officials is pegged on their experience and role in the WRC blue chip events_ GB Welsh Rally and Rally Finland, said Kimathi and in order for Kenya to deliver a world class event.
The two gentlemen are now part of the WRC Safari Rally Project to ensure Kenya fulfills its mandate of returning to the WRC in 2020 said the project’s CEO Phineas Kimathi.
The added that the two experts will work alongside officials of the event’s Organising Committee in tripartite agreement between the FIA President Jean Todt, WRC Promoter and the WRC Safari Rally Project.
Todt has been instrumental and very supportive of Kenya’s return to the WRC.
They will also inspect the draft itinerary in Naivasha area and also tour Kajiado County in a tight schedule which concludes on Sunday evening.