Kenya has begun preparations for the 2022 World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally, roughly two months after this year’s race in Naivasha in June.

The annual event which was not conducted last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was hosted in Kenya after 19 years.

On the final day of the event, it was announced that Kenya would host the event from 2022 to 2026. The government of Kenya has secured the hosting rights from the International Automobile Federation (FIA) and the WRC.

Initial preparation work involves the identification and proposals of new routes. Next year, the rally is expected to be slightly longer and tougher.

“We need to make sure we are able to correct any mistakes which were noticed in this year’s WRC Safari Rally. Some of the stages are worn out and need grading as part of our major assignments. In total there will be 10 stages out of which nine will be done twice,” said Gurvir Bhabra, the Clerk of the Course for the WRC Safari Rally.

Regarding suggestions by rally fans that the Safari Rally be spread across the nation, Bhabra was quick to respond to the suggestions saying it was impossible to move out of Naivasha for the time being.

He said, “We need at least 1,000 beds in hotels which are within sight of the Safari Rally Headquarters. At the moment there are only three places nationwide that can accommodate this. It is Naivasha, Nairobi and Mombasa. The Government has invested heavily in the Service Park which again is very attractive.”

The stages are also within sight of a Service Park to make the competition easily managed.

For medication evacuation, the medical team in a helicopter does not have to spend more than 60 minutes to reach a hospital. This is one of the FIA rules that one has to face to host a WRC Event.

Senior officials of the WRC Safari Rally have expressed satisfaction with the Toyota Hilux Pickups used to survey the rally route saying, “We are very happy with the vehicles. They made our trip and mission comfortable.’’

The 00 and 000 cars are route inspection cars which were also used during the just concluded Safari Rally as the official Car Zero.