WRC says Ruto, Namwamba wanted event returned to traditional Easter weekend dates

Monday, October 23rd, 2023 02:30 | By
WRC says Ruto, Namwamba wanted event returned to traditional Easter weekend dates
resident William Ruto (right) tries his hands on a rally car before the flagging off of this year’s event as Sports CS Ababu Namwamba looks on. PHOTO/Philip Kamakya

Event Director at World Rally Championships (WRC) Promoter, Simon Larking has announced that the championship is excited to return the WRC Safari Rally event to its traditional dates starting with next year’s event.

Speaking exclusively to People Sports after the release of the 2024 calendar where Safari Rally Kenya has been placed as the third event to be staged between March 28 and 31 which is likely to be the Easter Holiday weekend, Larking said they expected a spectacular event and was confident that the local organisers will put up a better event than the previous years, despite the short time.

Larking said it was the Kenyan government request for the event to be returned to it’s traditional dates, to be able to attract bigger crowds.

“President William Ruto and the Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba requested WRC during this year’s event in Naivasha, to return the Safari Rally to it’s traditional dates to be able to attract bigger crowds to go inline with their ‘bottom up’ agenda where they want intend to take the sport to the masses and we were glad to grand them their wish because as much as we can not return the rally to public roads, we love big turnouts of spectators,” Larking told People Sport.

He added: “I’m sure the Local Organising Committee will put up a wonderful event, even better than the previous ones and I’m also sure the drivers will have an experience of a life time because rains are experienced in Kenya during the same time.”

This will be the first time in 26 years that Safari Rally will be held on its original traditional Easter holidays weekend date.

The 13 rounds championship will also feature Poland and Latvia.

“This is very good Mashujaa Day announcement news and a celebration for all Kenyans as we retrace the Safari Rally journey of 70 years ago when millions of Kenyans looked forward to the Easter weekend every year to enjoy the thrills of the Safari Rally,” said the WRC Safari Rally CEO Phineas Kimathi The iconic Rallye Monte-Carlo kicks off the calendar, 25 - 28 January), and will be based in the Col de Turini passes high in the French Alps which test drivers like no other.

It will be followed closely by Rally Sweden (15 - 18 February), the only pure snow and ice fixture on the calendar. Croatia Rally (18 - 23 April) has drawn in hundreds of thousands of spectators since its WRC debut in 2021. Its unique asphalt tracks based around the capital of Zagreb vary from smooth to badly broken and are set to return in all their glory, as will the legendary gravel tests of Vodafone Rally de Portugal (9 - 12 May) – also a huge hit with the crowds.

Mediterranean charm awaits at Rally Italia Sardegna (30 May - 2 June) before the eagerly anticipated return of ORLEN Rally Poland (27 - 30 June), back after a hiatus at the sport’s top level since 2017. Poland’s lightning-fast gravel roads promise a thrilling spectacle which will only be amplified further by the country’s enthusiastic fan base. WRC is thrilled to welcome a newcomer in Tet Rally Latvia (18 - 21 July), located in the vibrant southern coastal city of Liepāja.

Building on years of success at FIA European Rally Championship level, the loose-surface fixture underscores the clear pathway for events to ascend to the global stage of WRC. Speed enthusiasts can look forward to the high-octane Secto Rally Finland (1 - 4 August), renowned for its jaw-dropping speeds and gravity defying jumps.

The excitement then takes a different form at EKO Acropolis Rally Greece (5 - 8 September), offering a very different flavour with its winding, rocky mountain stages. Once again, South America asserts its presence with Rally Chile Bio Bío (26 - 29 September), reaffirming the championship’s global reach. Central European Rally (31 October – 3 November) will sweep across Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany as the penultimate round before the grand finale unfolds in Asia at FORUM8 Rally Japan (21 - 24 November).

Commenting on the calendar, WRC Promoter managing director Jona Siebel said: “We’re eagerly anticipating another action-packed season in 2024 with a calendar that not only celebrates our esteemed traditions, but also propels us into an exciting future. “Our return to Poland and our debut in Latvia underscore our commitment to delivering a fresh and exciting WRC experience for fans and competitors alike.” Every round of the WRC season will be broadcast live on WRC’s groundbreaking new platform Rally. TV, as well as via traditional broadcast partners around the globe.

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