Nairobi, Kenya June 12, 2019—The International Motorsport Federation (FIA) has appointed five officials to grade the Safari Rally and if convinced will see the highly storied event return back to the high profile World Rally Championship which has a guaranteed 876 million cumulative annual television viewership in 2020.
FIA has already slotted the Safari Rally in the 2020 WRC draft calendar and the final decision will be taken by October this year in the FIA Motorsport Council meeting.
French woman Michelle Mouton will be the Safety Delegate and is expected to drive the safety car ahead of competitors throughout the rally. She was here in April to check out the rally route.
Chris Birkin (South Africa) is the Technical Delegate while Finnish rally ace Timo Rautianen is the Sporting Delegate.
Others are FIA Observer/Steward Alain Ambrosino (Ivory Coast), Satinder Birdi (Tanzania), Chairman of Stewards, John Kamau (Kenya), KMSF Steward.
Stewards are experts who ensure all sporting and technical aspects of a rally meet set FIA rules and regulations.
The WRC Promoter is sending Jarmo Lehtinen of Finland and Briton Iain Campbell as technical experts who have been working with the WRC Safari Rally Project since March this year.
Lehtinen, will navigate Finish rising star Teemu Suninen in the World Rally Championship (WRC) 8th round in Italy from tomorrow till June 16.
Both spent seven days last month in Kenya to review the 2019 Safari Rally route and proposed itinerary for 2020 WRC in Nairobi, Nakuru Kiambu and Baringo counties. This was a follow up tour of March this year for a similar mission.
Campbell is the Clerk-of- Course of WRC Welsh Rally GB. Besides the routes the experts also imparted insightful knowledge of hosting a WRC event.
Lehtinen said before departure that they were impressed with progress and wished Kenya will host the most successful Africa Championship 2019. Iain expressed similar sentiments.
They return in the first week of July to assist in organizing the Safari.
Lehtinen is one of the sport’s most knowledgeable co-drivers. He has started 169 WRC events, most alongside Mikko Hirvonen, with whom he finished runner-up in the WRC four times, and won the manufacturers’ title with Ford in 2006 and 2007. He explained the nitty gritties from an experienced world level driver’s point of view to the Organising Committee of the Safari
After retiring from co-driving in 2014, Lehtinen was sporting director at Toyota Gazoo Racing when the Japanese manufacturer returned to the WRC in 2017. He left in August that year and has most recently worked as a consultant in the championship.
Meanwhile Zambian Leroy Gomes renews his new found challenge who dominated the Africa Rally Championship Safari Rally after his second position showing in the Zambian round of the continental diadem last weekend.
Gomes who will drive Ford Fiesta R5, technical equivalent of the two Skoda Fabias of winner in Zambia Manvir Baryan and Onkar Rai.
No: DRIVER NAVIGATOR NATIONALITY Car Make
1: Paras Pandya/Falgun Bhojak (KEN) Evo X N4
2: Mahesh Halai/Ketan Halai (KEN), Subaru Impreza N4
3: Lloyd John – UK/Cavenagh Adrian (KEN), Ford Escort Classic
4:Somen Jonathan/Hechle Richard (KEN), Ford Escort Mk Ii Classic
5: Edward Maina/Edward Njoroge (KEN), Subaru Impreza N10
6: Jasmeet Chana/Ravi Chana (KEN), EVO X
7:Giancarlo Davite(Begium)/Sylvia Vindevogel (Burundi), EVO X
8: Karan Patel/James Mwangi, (KEN) EVO X
9: Daren Miranda/Fernandes Wayne (KEN), Toyota Sprinter 2WD
10: Walubi Kepher/Mugambwa Anthony (Uganda), EVO X
11: Ssebaguzi Ronald/Ssenyange Leon (UG), EVO X
12: Puee Sohanjeet/Din Adnan (KEN), Subaru Impreza N10
13: Geoff Mayes/Suzanne Zwager (KEN), Landrover SPV
14: Rai Onkar/ Dawe Gareth (KEN), Scoda Fabia RC2-R5
15: Rai Tejvir ( TBA) Ken, EVO X
16: Chager Baldev/Ravi Soni (KEN), EVO X
17: Kahlon Lovejyot Singh/Limbani Harshil (KEN), Subaru Impreza N10
18: Gomes Leroy/Gomes Urshlla (ZAMBIA) Ford Fiesta R5
19: Sachania Nikhil/Deep Patel (KEN) EVO X SPV
20: Carl Tundo/Tim Jessop (KEN) EVO X
21: Sira Hardev /TBA (KEN), Ken, Ford Escort Classic
22: Nasser Yassin/Katumba Ali (UG),Subaru Impreza
23: Aakif Virani/Azhar Bhatti (KEN), Subaru Impreza – Vab SPV
24: Mcrae Kimathi/TBA (KEN),Subaru Impreza – N12
25: Minesh Rathod/ Shameer Yusuf (KEN), EVO X
26: Duncan Mubiru/Musa Nsubuga (UG), EVO X
27: Eric Bengi/Tuta Mionki (KEN), EVO X
28: Issa Amwari/Job Njiru (KEN), EVO X
29: Ammar Haq/Victor Okundi (KEN) EVO X
30: Christakis Fitidis (UG)/Veer Dadar (Tanzania), EVO X
31: Godfrey Nsereko/Jb Musisi (UG), Toyota Runx 2WD
32: Mahesh Halal/ Ketan Halal (KEN), Subaru Impreza
33: Abdul Katete/Rahma Mohammed (UG), Subaru Impreza
34:Piero Cannobio/TBA (Italy), EVO X