Safari Rally media centre 'will be world-class'
WRC Safari Rally organisers have assured they will pull out all the stops to ensure the Kenyan round surpasses global standards of media operations in the World Rally Championship series.
The Safari is making a comeback to the World Rally Championships (WRC) after a 19-year hiatus and media operations at the recent test-run Equator Rally were satisfactory but need improvement.
Phineas Kimathi, the chief executive officer of the WRC Safari Rally, accompanied by Surinder Thatthi, the Vice President of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) were among the senior WRC Safari Rally officials who updated journalists on latest developments in the build-up to the June 24-27 WRC Safari Rally at a retreat of the rally’s media operations team in Naivasha on Saturday.
Thatthi, also a former top level rally navigator, said the recent Africa Rally Championship Equator Rally was adjudged the best ever round of the continental championships, praising organisers for a job well done.
Kimathi narrated the Safari’s long journey back to the World Rally Championship.
“Kenya is considered as the best rally country in Africa. The Kenya National Rally Championship series has been at the top of the African Continent for the last five years and we are proud,” said Kimathi in his presentation.
“Having given the facts in brief, one can understand why Kenya is going back to the World Rally Championship. Kenya has proved itself as the best country in Africa that FIA cannot miss out.”
Thatthi said the Equator Rally was the best organized rally in the African Continent and Kenya should be proud of the organization in readiness for the return of the Safari Rally.
Safari Rally is considered to be one of the toughest events in Africa and Middle East region.
The return of the Safari Rally to the WRC series after 19 years also means a lot to the Kenyan economy with a minimum of Sh6 billion expected to be injected into the Kenyan economy.
For instance, over 200 cars will be hired from car rental companies and over 5,000 rooms are expected to be booked in Naivasha during the rally period.
“The Equator Rally proved that Kenya is ready to welcome the teams and tourists to Kenya in time for the Safari Rally. Foreign teams will spend about $20 million each while Kenya is expected to gain revenues of between Sh60 million and Sh80 million in shipping and tourism as the Safari Rally returns to WRC series,” said Thatthi in his short speech.
The WRC Safari Rally is expected to be one of the best ever with air conditioning, better internet services and comfortable work stations monitored by CCTV cameras for maximum security.
Kimathi said the WRC Safari Rally organisation will deploy over 2,300 personnel in various departments such as the Media, Clerk of Course, Human Resources, Environment, Legacy, Hospitality and Security.
This weekend’s media operations retreat has been organised to help the communications team review the Equator Rally and plan for the WRC Safari Rally.
Anthony Gatei, the WRC Safari Rally Service Park Manager for the WRC Safari Rally, also gave his part of his programme concerning the event to be staged in the next few weeks.
“The Service Park is ready for each of the teams. The WRC teams will include the P1 (Priority 1) cars like the Hyundai, Ford and Toyota which will occupy an area of 670 by 20 metres.
“Other teams will include the P2 Models of cars which are almost like WRC Cars but for developing purposes to try and sell to other teams or sponsor some drivers,” explained Gatei.