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Returning WRC leg under scrutiny as FIA mulls postponement

By Christopher Owuor
Friday, March 27th, 2020
A Datsun 260z splashes through a mud hole around the Taita hills during the 2017 EA Safari Classic Rally. Photo/PD/PHILLIP KAMAKYA

Nairobi, Thursday

Federation Internationale de’Automobile (FIA) has put Kenya on notice of the likelihood to postpone the Safari Rally, which serves as the seventh round of the World Rally Championships (WRC), FIA president Jean Todt said on Thursday.

In a statement, Todt said FIA is closely monitoring development of efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus pandemic that broke out at the beginning of the year, and the evolving situation with its affiliate countries and relevant authorities including governments and WHO.

“The FIA will evaluate the calendar of its forthcoming races and, if necessary, take any action required to help protect the global motor sport community and the wider public,” Todt said.

Todt said with the extension of a state of emergency in Portugal and similar measures in Italy, the FIA and WRC Promoter unanimously agreed to postpone the two rallies, which serves as the fifth and sixth leg of the WRC.

  Vodafone Rally de Portugal, round five of the FIA World Rally Championship, was due to take place in Matosinhos on May 21-24.

Rally Italia Sardegna, round six, was due to take place in Sardinia on June 4-7. FIA left open Kenya’s Safari Rally, the next surviving round on the calendar which runs from July 16-19.

Told added that the WRC Promoter and FIA will discuss with Kenya and other countries, as well as the home countries of WRC teams and all competitors.

“All parties will work to identify potential alternative dates for the postponed rallies later in the season should the COVID-19 situation improve, taking into consideration championship logistics, the ability of competitors to travel again and the ability of the country in question to prepare and host the WRC at such a time,” said WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla.

The WRC Promoter and FIA asked the crews to stay in solidarity with these who are fighting this pandemic.                                               -Xinhua

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