October 5 2018, Wales, Britain— Dave Richards, the owner of Prodrive, the UK-based tuning company which transformed Subaru from an ordinary street car to a fire spitting championship wining Blue Subaru Impreza has welcomed efforts Kenya is making for the Safari Rally to regain WRC status.
Richards met with the WRC Safari Rally Project CEO Phineas Kimathi and WRC Promoter Managing director Oliver Ciesla in Wales, Britain yesterday to discuss preparations for the FIA WRC 2019 Candidate Event Safari Rally and ultimately Safari’s return to the WRC from 2020.
Richards has always been a strong supporter of the Safari Rally having fielded cars from 1996 to 2002 including wining the 1997 Safari through the late Colin McRae and was one of those who mourned the demise of the Safari. He said it would be good to return to Kenya. Prodrive tuned the Morris Clubman which enters selected WRC events. But the success story of the Blue Subaru remains his success signature.
Phineas is in Wales for the WRC Rally GB accompanied with some technical officials working on the Safari project. Richards is a very influential personality in the world of motorsport and with greats like Michelle Mouton , the Safari is there for Kenyans to fail to grab WRC status, said Kimathi.
Safari Rally is a Candidate Event for the World Rally Championship and by far the biggest sporting event in Africa with an international interest.
By definition A WRC Candidate Event is a precursor of the main World Rally Championship and must be organized in all aspects as any of the 13 rounds championship. For Kenya the International Automobile Federation (FIA) has appointed Mouton, third in 1983 Safari as the Safety Observer and is expected in Nairobi in January to review all organizational aspects including the route concepts.
Phineas Kimathi (right) with Prodrive owner Dave Richards (centre) and WRC Promoter managing Director Oliver Ciesla in Wales today.