Kenyan commissioner for sports Gordon Oluoch has asked officials of the Kenyan Motor Sports Foundation to furnish his office with details of what’s required to return the rally to world status.
“Older Kenyans recall with nostalgia the days when the East African Safari was a big part of their lives,” he said on Wednesday at the launch of the national rally season, which will start on 27 February.
“ We want to return the rally so that we can continue from where we left off.”
The International Automobile Federation took the Kenyan rally off its world championship calendar in 2002 after years of expressing reservations on Nairobi's handling of the event and over issues concerning the distance covered, the security of competitors and drivers and spectator safety.
The world governing body of motorsport had initially directed Safari Rally organisers to reduce the distance of the grueling event that brought top ranking drivers to Kenya, to make the East African event conform to the international standards of the 14 other international rallies staged under the auspices of the FIA.
The rally lost a lot of its drama in 2000 when the FIA moved it from the traditional April date of rain and mud to cold, dry and dusty July. Two years later the Safari was replaced by the Anatolian Rally in Turkey.
Kenyan Motor Sports Foundation director Phineas Kimathi said said his organisation would start by moving away from open public road stages to closed private farm roads where safety was guaranteed.
“As a first step towards gaining acceptability from FIA,” the former rally driver added, “we will start by restricting all spectators to designated viewpoints; they will be required to park their vehicles and walk to the viewpoints without interfering with rally traffic.”
Original source: Kenya to lobby for Safari Rally return