President Uhuru Kenyatta today officially flagged off the 2021 World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally Kenya at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre grounds.
President Kenyatta flagged off the first ten rally cars that included Kenya’s Mcrae Kimathi. From KICC, the cars will head to Kasarani for the Super Special Stage (SS1), which is the first stage of the competition, then head to Naivasha for an overnight stay.
On Friday morning, the cars will restart the competition and tackle the second stage (SS2) in Naivasha.
The event was also attended by Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Sports Amb. Amina Mohamed who hailed the iconic sporting event that has been ranked among the best in the World Rally series.
President Kenyatta commended the event organizers and all stakeholders for the hard work that ensured the resumption of the safari rally after a 19-year hiatus.
‘’We are proud to host this famous event. The event attracts millions of fans and is considered as one of the toughest events in the WRC series. The event unifies all walks of life in Kenya. The competition is not an enmity as it brings us all together,” President Kenyatta said.
"The rally contributes over Sh6 billion to our economy. Thanks to FIA for the support. Thanks to all the drivers and the best of competition.”
McRae Kimathi and Mwangi Kioni were the first to be flagged off followed by Maxine Wahome and Waigwa Murage. Sean Johnston and Alexander Kihurani were the first foreign crew to be flagged off by President Uhuru Kenyatta. The drivers then headed to Kasarani just after 2:00 pm and will later be heading to Naivasha where the main event is expected to take place from Friday morning.
Nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb, returning to the Safari after 20 years, on Wednesday said although shorter, the Safari still looks the same.
There are two categories in this year’s Safari rally. The FIA category and the KNRC category
Kalle Rovenpera/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris), Thierry Neuvilla/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai), Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota Yaris), Ott Tanak/Martin Jarveoja (Hyundai), Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris), Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Ford), Sébastien Loeb/Isabelle Galmiche (Ford), and Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (Ford).
Others are Sébastien Ogier/Benjamin Veillas (Toyota Yaris), Oliver Solberg/Elliott EdmonDson (Hyundai), Andrien Fourmaux/Alexandre (Ford), Jourdan Serderidis/Frédéric Miclotte (Ford), Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak (Skoda), Martin Prokop/Zdeněk Jurka (Ford), Sean Johnston/Alexander Kihurani (Citroen), and Gaurav Gill/Gabriel Morales (Skoda Fabia).
Karan Patel/Tauseef Khan (Ford Fiesta), Leroy Gomes/Urshilla Gomes (Ford Fiesta), Amaanraj Rai/Gurdeep Panesar (Skoda Fabia), Aakhif Virani/Azfar Bhatt (Skoda Fabia),and Jeremy Wahome/Victor Okundi (Ford Fiesta).
Also on the list are, Hamza Anwar/Adnan Din (Ford Fiesta), McRae Kimathi/Mwangi Kioni (Ford Fiesta), Maxine Wahome/Waigwa Murage (Ford Fiesta), Diego Dominguez/Rogelio Penate (Ford Fiesta), Giancarlo Davite/Sylvia Vindevogel (Mitsubishi Lancer), Carl Tundo/Tim Jessop (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo10), Nikhil Sachania/Deep Patel (Mitsubishi Lancer), Evans Nzioka/Absolom Aswani (Mitsubishi Lancer), and Rio Smith/Riyaz Ismail (Ford Fiesta).
The KNRC category
Jasmeet Chana/Ravi Chana (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo10), Duncan Mubiri/Musa Nsubuga (Subaru Impreza), Issa Amwari/Job Njiru (Mitsubishi Lancer), Steven Mwangi/Denis Mwenda (Subaru Impreza), Kush Patel/Mudasar Chaudry (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo10), Andrew Muiruri/Edward Njoroge (Subaru Impreza), Daren Miranda/Amman Shah (Subaru Impreza), Edward Maina/Anthony Gichohi (Subaru Impreza), Zameer Verjee/Zahir Shah (Subaru Impreza), Josiah Kariuki/John Ngugi (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9).