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Safari Rally part of the WRC 2022 calendar

Monday, October 18th, 2021 06:00 | By
Onkar Rai navigated by Drew Sturrock raises dust at the Hell’s Gate stage of the WRC Safari Rally in June. PHOTO/Philip Kamakya

Edwin Otieno

Safari Rally has been listed as one of the 13 rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship in 2022, the World Motorsport Council announced in Paris, France, on Friday.

 The event will be held on  June 23-26 in Nairobi and Naivasha.

 Japan, which was to host the final round until the country was forced to cancel their round due to Covid-19 Pandemic, has also been included.

 The season covers four continents, as it also unveils the sport’s first hybrid-era calendar.

 New Zealand’s  flowing North Island gravel roads near Auckland will feature for the first time since 2009 as the WRC celebrates its 50th season.

The Land of the Long White Cloud’s 32nd WRC appearance, round 11 of the year, will take place on 29 September - 2 October.

 Croatia’s asphalt is retained in an expanded 13-round schedule after the central European country hosted a widely-praised debut in April.

 For the first time in as many years the championship will visit Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia – as the pandemic eases and commercial rights owner WRC Promoter rebuilds towards its target of a 50-50 split between European and long-haul rounds.

 Next year brings some of the biggest and most far-reaching changes in the sport’s history as the WRC enters a more sustainable age.

 Exciting top-tier hybrid Rally1 cars will blend 100kW electric motors and the existing combustion engine, while a hydrocarbon-based fossil-free fuel will be 100 percent sustainable, the WRC Managing Director Jona Siebel said.

 He added that the mix of classic fixtures and newer events would provide a mouth-watering schedule in a landmark season. 

 “Next year will be a momentous and thrilling one for the FIA World Rally Championship as we welcome the new hybrid era Rally1 cars, part of a portfolio of regulations to drive the series towards a greener and more sustainable future,” he added.

 “Next year also marks the WRC’s 50th season and we have a calendar to match. We’re delighted to welcome back New Zealand, a rally which first appeared in 1977.

Its gravel roads are a drivers’ delight and although our plans to return in 2020 were unfortunately derailed by Covid-19, it’s fantastic we can now push through with those.

 “We previously outlined our strategy for an equal spread of rallies between Europe and long-haul destinations and the 2022 calendar is a significant step towards that goal.”   

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