Safari dress rehearsal puts Equator Rally in spotlight
Safari Rally chief executive Phineas Kimathi (left) with FIA's Iain Campbell (centre) and WRC Promoter's Joao Passos inspect Safari Rally Kenya's Naivasha service park earlier this month. Photographs by Anwar Sidi.
Preparations for Safari Rally Kenya’s WRC return continues to gather pace with confirmation of details for next month’s Equator Rally (24 - 25 April) which will act as a dry run for the Safari itself.
The FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) event will serve as a double header with points also counting towards the Kenya National Rally Championship.
The Equator Rally will offer various Safari officials, including stage commanders, their deputies, set-up crew and media personnel an opportunity to savour a real event situation. Various Safari officials have already undergone FIA training courtesy of Motorsport UK.
The FIA’s Iain Campbell and WRC Promoter’s Joao Passos also spent close to two weeks in Nairobi and Naivasha recently providing technical assistance for Safari organisers.
Safari clerk of the course Gurvir Bhabra confirmed that the revived Equator Rally will use six special stages that will also feature in the Safari route – Elementaita, Soysambu, Sleeping Warrior, Loldia, Malewa and Kedong.
The Safari returns to the WRC schedule after a 19-year hiatus and will run from June 24 to 27 in the Rift Valley.
“We did a proper dry run on our candidate event in 2019. Unfortunately, our WRC return last year was delayed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. This year's Equator Rally will serve as a worthy dress rehearsal for our WRC plans,” said Bhabra.
Entries for the Equator Rally opened this week. It will be the first competition on the ARC calendar following the postponement of the season-opening Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Rally.