Safaricom’s mobile money service, M-PESA, has announced a Ksh. 25 million sponsorship for the 2023 WRC Safari Rally scheduled for 22nd to 25th June in Naivasha, Nakuru County.

In addition to the Ksh. 25 million sponsorship, as part of Safaricom’s sustainability agenda, the telco and the rally stars will participate in a tree-planting initiative to mark the 2023 WRC Safari Rally.

In partnership with Kenya’s national carrier, Kenya Airways (KQ), Safaricom’s sponsorship will support the Kenyan FIA Rally Stars Programme. They have selected three drivers; McRae Kimathi, Hamza Anwar, and Jeremiah Wahome who will participate in the WRC3 category, driving Rally 3 Ford Fiestas.

“We are once again thrilled to be a part of this historic event. Over the past two years, our partnership with Kenya Airways has enabled us to support the WRC Safari Rally and nurture young drivers through the FIA Rally Star programme as part of our commitment to promote sports talent in the country.” said Peter Ndegwa, CEO of Safaricom.

The FIA Rally Star programme is a global initiative that aims to identify, train, and develop talented young drivers aged between 17 and 28 years.

“Safaricom has consistently offered us their unwavering support. Their dedication to nurturing young talent in this country is unmatched. We are all set for this year’s Safari Rally, and I encourage everyone to come out in large numbers to support our drivers,” said Phineas Kimathi, President of the Kenya Motorsport Federation and CEO of WRC Safari Rally.

The 2023 Safari Rally has attracted 34 entries, including WRC points leader and defending Safari Rally champion Kalle Rovanpera. Other notable international drivers who have confirmed their participation are Sébastien Ogier, the 2021 WRC Safari Rally Champion, Ott Tänak, Evans Elfyn, Thierry Neuville, Esapekka Lappi, Dani Sordo, Katsuta Takamoto, and Solberg Oliver.

In addition to the FIA Rally Stars, the rest of the Kenyan team comprises of Patel Karan, Tundo Carl, Virani Aakif, Canobbio Piero, Singh Vohra Samman, Kavisi Evans, Rathod Minesh, and Kariuki Josiah.

About the three Kenyan FIA Rally Stars;

1. Hamza Anwar

· Car Type- Ford Fiesta Car 35
· 201 7- Runners up in the National Autocross Championship riding a 2WD N/T turbo.
· 2018 – 2wd N/T buggy champion in the National Autocross Championship.
· 2018 – Youngest entrant in the 1st Mini Classic also winning the most meritorious award
· 2020 – Finished 4th overall in the Arusha/Tanzania Rally.
· 2021 Finished Sth overall in the ARC Equator Rally.
· 2021 – WRC Safari Rally- 2 nd position in class RC3
· 2022 – Current record holder for Loldio and only youngster to win a stage outright.
· 2022 FIA Africa Junior Champion
· 2022 ARC Zambia- 2nd position in ARC3, ARC Junior and class RC3.
· 2023 WRC rally Croatia-4th position WRC3, 5th position Junior WRC, 1st overall, 6th position RC3.

2. Jeremiah Wahome

· Car Type- Ford Fiesta Car 36
· Started go karting in 2006 at the age of 8 in the Rift Volley Motorsports CIub Championship.
· 2015 – Competed in the Formula BMW Asia Cup Series in 2015, claiming 3 top rookie awards with 2 runner-up finishes and a 3rd place.
· Participated in the BRDC British Formula 3 at the age of 18, finishing 9th.
· 2021 WRC Safari Rally- 1st position in RC3.
· 2021 ARC Tanzania – l st position in Africa Junior, AFRC3 and class RC3.
· 2022 WRC Safari Rally- 2nd position inWRC3 Open, class RC3.
· 2022 ARC Equator (Kenya) – 1st position in ARC3, ARC
· 2023 – Machakos raIIy- 1st position ARC3 Junior category, 1st overall position

3. McRae Kimathi

· Car Type- Ford Fiesta Car 37
· 2015 – Started rallying at the age of 15 at the AbduI Sidi Rally School.
· 20 18 – First raIly entry at the Autocross Championship finishing 3rd overall.
· 20 1 9 Youngest to finish the WRC Candidate event.
· 2019 Finished 5th overall in the KCB Meru Rally.
· 2021 – African RaIly Champion Junior
· 2021 – First Kenyan to ever enter the FIA Junior WRC Championship becoming the fourth African driver to ever compete in the championship.
· 2022 – ARC Zambia- 1st position in ARC3, ARC Junior, class RC3 and 3rd position overall
· 2023 – Machakos raIIy- 2nd position ARC3 Junior category, 2nd position overall
· 2023 – ARC Equator raIIy – 6th position overall, 1st position ARC3 Junior category.