The 2020 Safari Rally Kenya has officially been called off meaning the FIA World Rally Championship‘s return to Africa is delayed for 12 months.
Following discussions between the FIA and the Kenyan government, the decision has been made on the basis of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as well as travel restrictions.
Amina Mohamed, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for sport, culture and heritage said: “We are grateful to the [Safari Rally] Patron, His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta, for his unwavering support and counsel as we deliberated on the next best steps.
“We also owe exceptional gratitude to the President of the FIA, Mr. Jean Todt and the WRC Promoter led by Oliver Ciesla for their unyielding support since we commenced engagements to return the Safari Rally to the WRC circuit.”
Work is now underway to get ready for the 2021 event as the WRC looks to return the Safari for the first time since 2002.
Mohamed added: “We will continue to prepare for the event as groundworks are already in top gear and look forward to welcoming rally professionals, teams and enthusiasts to Kenya when the event is re-convened next year.
“Postponing the event to 2021 was not a simple decision to make, however, we are cognisant of the present global challenges and assure that the Safari Rally will mark a significant part of our country’s history as was intended for the next three years.”
Safari Rally CEO Phineas Kimathi said the event was on time for its July date, but the infrastructure in place will now carry forward to next year: “The organizing teams continue to work hard to make sure that we deliver a world-class event.
“We are at an advanced stage to complete the service park located in Nakuru County and are in line with the set completion timelines.
“We have also completed the Event Safety Plan, Itinerary and Supplementary Regulations all delivered within the given FIA and WRC timelines and will move forward to complete all the requisite arrangements.
“We encourage the drivers and all stakeholders to keep in touch with the secretariat as we ready ourselves for the new dates.“
The next scheduled rally for the WRC is Rally Finland on 6-9 August.