NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 10 – Kenya’s fabled Safari Rally, which had been included in this year’s FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) schedule but cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, has now been confirmed in the 2021 Calendar and is scheduled for June 24-27.
The rally was making a return to the World Rally Championship Calendar for the first time since 2002 but had to be halted when the pandemic swept out all sporting activities due to the various containment measures set in place.
The re-organization of the dates comes as a huge boost to the Local Organizing Committee which had put in a shift of work to ensure the event goes on to a success.
It also comes just a day after Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed was elected into the World Motor Sports Council.
Meanwhile, Croatia will host a round of the global series for the first time after being named in the 2021 calendar.
Estonia is also included in the 12-round series after being called-up at short notice to host a widely praised post-lockdown restart event in September. It was the Baltic state’s first WRC appearance in 2020.
Spain also returns to the Championship after a year’s absence.
The 2021 season will feature nine European events and three outside Europe. Next year’s WRC has been strategically designed to allow for a continued Covid-19 impact on international sport by scheduling the majority of rounds from June onwards.
The calendar was approved by the FIA, world motorsport’s governing body, and WRC Promoter managing director Jona Siebel said it would appeal to both competitors and WRC fans alike.
“The inclusion of Croatia to the WRC for the first time is an exciting new challenge to our fixture list and brings huge anticipation,” he addedEstonia’s championship debut a few weeks ago proved a massive success, even more so given the short time available to the organisers to prepare the rally. It fully deserves to retain its slot for 2021.”
-The 2021 championship in detail
The season kicks-off with the traditional season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo in the French Alps. It will be followed by Rally Sweden, the series’ only pure winter fixture.
Croatia forms the third round and will be held on 22 – 25 April. It is the opening pure asphalt encounter and will be based in capital city Zagreb.
Portugal’s late-May fixture is the first of three hot weather gravel rounds. It is followed in June by Italy and Kenya, which completes the opening half of the championship.
2021 WRC CALENDAR
1 Monte-Carlo 21 – 24 January
2 Sweden 11 – 14 February
3 Croatia 22 – 25 April*
4 Portugal 20 – 23 May
5 Italy 3 – 6 June
6 Kenya 24 – 27 June
7 Estonia 15 – 18 July*
8 Finland 29 July – 1 August
9 UK 19 – 22 August*
10 Chile 9 – 12 September
11 Spain 14 – 17 October
12 Japan 11 – 14 November