February 26 2018 Nairobi—The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile President Jean Todt arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for a two-day official visit in Kenya and was met by the Chief Executive Officer of the WRC Safari Rally Project Phineas Kimathi.
Todt who will officially open the WRC Safari Rally Project Headquarters at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, the nerve centre of the government-funded initiative to fast track Kenya’s bid to return the Safari back to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) by 2020.
Todt later met with directors of the Kenya Motor Sport Federation (KMSF) and the President of Automobile Association of Kenya (AA) Jinaro Kibet who was accompanied by his Director General Francis Theuri in a working luncheon at Villa Rosa Kempinski.
Besides motorsport, Todt is also the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Road Safety and he is on a stopover in Nairobi enroute to Uganda for a UN engagement.
Kimathi said it was an honor for Todt, third in 1973 Safari Rally navigating Swede Ove Andersson in a Peugeot 504, to accept opening the Safari headquarters tomorrow and discuss at length the Safari Rally subject with government and Motorsport authorities.
This is his third visit to Kenya since 2015 and has been engaged by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Motorsport officials on a future WRC Safari Rally.
In response to the position of the Safari Rally in a 2016 Press Conference Todt revealed that Africa is a very key region for the FIA in terms of rallying but added the necessary guarantees set by the FIA will have to be met.
Among the issues Todt pointed on Kenya was road safety as well as the deviation from the public roads to private land rallying.
“If all the processes are followed we see no reason why Kenya cannot make it back to the WRC. So far we are very impressed with the Kenya National Rally Championship as one of the best run events in Africa.
“But the new standards of rallying must be respected. What was possible back then when events ran on open roads is not possible these days with the population. Rallies must now be organized on closed roads, “Todt said.
“We are happy that the Government of Kenya through President Uhuru Kenyatta has been very supportive of the process but reiterates the process will have to be ongoing,” Todt said.