Why Kenyan drivers are buzzing for new season of motorsports
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 31 – The Kenya Motorsports Federation (KMSF) expects a record number of drivers to participate in this season’s Kenya National Rally Championships (KNRC) after the body decided to relax certain rules governing entries into the competition.
Federation president Phineas Kimathi said the resolutions were made following consultations with stakeholders in the industry, with the objective of making the annual competition vibrant.
“A few months back, I formed a task force that went out and talked to the drivers as well as the sponsors. They agreed that we needed to relax certain rules to have more people entering. For example, if you have a seat in a car that was homologated five years ago, it is still a good seat and it is safe,” Kimathi said.
He added: “So, we have given an extension so that our Kenyan drivers can enter their cars in the existing form instead of asking them to buy new equipment.”
With the first round of KNRC, organized by Rallye Sports Club (RSC), set for this weekend, Kimathi anticipates a bumper entry across the different categories of competition.
“I am sure we are going to see renewed interest and we are going to see more cars, which would have been parked in garages, coming to compete as a result of the initiative we have put in place,” he said.
Looking to the last season, Kimathi acknowledged that many drivers were trying to get back on their feet after a taxing period occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nonetheless, he saluted each one of them for soldiering on and contributing to an eventful calendar for Kenyan motorsports.
“In the local scene, we had great times in all the categories of the events. I know many of the competitors were suffering because the economy of the country was recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic but you have seen towards the end of the year every one was able to come up and the competition was quite stiff. I also have to mention that out of the four trophies that were up for contention in Africa, Kenya won three,” Kimathi noted.
Success of Safari
The country is set to host another edition of the Safari Rally after the event was reinstated in the World Rally Championships (WRC) in 2020.
Kimathi pointed out that Kenya’s reputation as a motorsport giant continues to grow with the Safari Rally recognized as one of the most environmentally-conscious megasports events across the universe.
“We have attained three-star environmental ratings for our commitment. There are only four other rallies (on the WRC calendar) that have attained this level of rating for environmental commitment. We are also committed to planting 19 million trees and are already halfway having planted 9million or thereabouts,” he added.
Having recently visited Monaco in the company of the Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Ababu Namwamba, Kimathi said it was an eye-opener on how motorsports can contribute to the fight against climate change and sustainable development.
“We want to sustainable development and initiatives that will mitigate against climate change in the world. For your information, all the 13 rounds of the WRC are run on sustainable fuels. That was the conversation and Kenya is strategically placed in terms of renewable energy. We are in the top of the producers of renewable energy, particularly, geothermal,” Kimathi said.
The Safari Rally will return to Naivasha on the weekend of June 22-25.
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