The return of Safari Rally Kenya to the FIA World Rally Championship has been delayed until 2021 following agreement between the FIA, WRC Promoter and the Government of Kenya on Friday (15 May).
The decision was reached following discussions between the three parties to protect the health of all those involved in the WRC and in Kenya due to the Covid-19 pandemic, alongside global movement restrictions.
The seventh round of the FIA World Rally Championship was scheduled on 16 – 19 July and its return to the series for the first time since 2002 was eagerly awaited.
WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla said: “We greatly regret this decision but there was unfortunately no choice given the current global situation. The championship has a duty of care to all stakeholders as well as the wider community and this remains our key focus.
“The return of Safari Rally Kenya was due to be one of the highlights of the WRC season and we extend our gratitude to President Uhuru Kenyatta, the Government of Kenya and the entire team at the WRC Safari Rally Project, headed by Phineas Kimathi, which has worked so hard. We look forward to Safari Rally Kenya in 2021.”
“We were all very excited to see the WRC return to Africa and Kenya after 18 years and we are naturally disappointed that it will not happen this year, particularly given all the hard work that has been undertaken by the Kenyan government and organising team.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact in every sphere of society including motorsport and rally, but I hope we will come out stronger after this crisis and we are already looking ahead to the Safari Rally taking place in 2021,” he added.
“Postponing the event to 2021 was not a simple decision to make. However, we are cognisant of the present global challenges and assure that the Safari Rally will mark a significant part of our country’s history as was intended for the next three years,” she said.