Chile only ran a WRC Candidate Event last weekend. Japan is next. Both are angling for re-admission in the WRC in 2019. However, Kenya’s Candidate Event is slated for 2019 and a possible return to the WRC from 2020 onwards.
By PETER NJENGA
Nairobi, Kenya, April 24 2018 – Chile organised a WRC Candidate Event Official Bid Rally last weekend which was observed by FIA observer Timo Rautiainen of Finland and Safety Delegate Michele Mouton, the 1983 French woman third place finisher in the Safari Rally.
Chile is one of the three countries chasing an open 14th slot on the FIA World Championship calendar, with Japan and Kenya the main opposition.
Readers have been asking whether Safari Rally is now out of the running for WRC status race after Chile’s “inclusion” and Japan’s incursions.
On the contrary Kenya’s position remains firm and organised, focused and right on course and schedule, says the WRC Safari Rally project Chief Executive Officer Phineas Kimathi.
Kenya’s WRC Candidate Event is slotted for early next year with 2020 being the target as per the time table of the WRC Safari Rally Project team to the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and the Kenya Government which is the main sponsor and driver of the project in the Gazette Notice of November 1 2017.
Chile’s Candidature event or Japan does not mean direct admission to the WRC either. That decision _ as is the norm, will taken by the World Motor Sport Council later this year when the 2019 calendar will be discussed and adopted.
With prospects of China and Croatia hosting WRC rounds technically out of the running as of now, Japan, like Chile, are the only country angling for a 2019 WRC inclusion. And like Kenya, they have also been working with the WRC Promoter on this mission.
One thing we have already learnt from Chile WRC admission bid is that;
1: The FIA gets directly involved in such matters. The body sent two observers_Timo Rautiainen and Safety Delegate Michele Mouton.
2: The World Rally Championship teams sent representatives. As of now the teams are;
3: The WRC promoter personnel led by their Managing Director Oliver Ciesla were also present.
4: The rally ran as closely to WRC format as possible. Live TV stages were broadcast during both legs and the rally will closed with a Power Stage on Sunday afternoon.
5: Based in Concepción, the rally zoomed off from the city’s main square (their equivalence of the Kenya International Convention Centre grounds) on Friday evening. Seven stages were held on Saturday w followed by five more on Sunday, making 143.76km of competition in a total route of 483.21km.
What will happen after this?
No cause of alarm, everything is on schedule, says Kimathi.