Plan well, and early, advises Safari Rally chief Kimathi

Phineas Kimathi

Phineas Kimathi, the CEO of the WRC Safari Rally, speaks during a press conference held at the Service Park in Naivasha on June 20, 2022.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Kimathi, himself a former rally driver, welcomed global motorsport lovers to tour the country known for exciting tourist sites, including the wild animals, saying the airports were now open following the relaxation of the Covid 19 rules.
  • "Even if we have more than 200,000 guests, we shall be more than happy to accommodate them," he said.

Organisers of the World Rally Championship Safari Rally have made elaborate plans to avoid a traffic snarl-up like that witnessed during last year's event.

Safari Rally chief executive officer Phineas Kimathi, while giving updates Monday, called on rally fans to make prior travel plans to avoid the gridlock.

“For those coming to watch the rally on Friday, they should travel on Thursday to avoid congestion on the roads,” he advised.

He divulged that the organisers had made link roads within the Wildlife Research and Training Institute, Naivasha in move aimed at addressing the issue of traffic congestion.

He warned rally enthusiasts against parking their vehicles on the road, saying their cars will be towed and taken to the Naivasha Police Station.

"We shall be kind enough not to charge the owners but the earliest they can collect the towed vehicles will be on Monday," stressed Kimathi.

Last year, he added, majority of the rally spectators parked their vehicles by the roadside, greatly inconveniencing rally drivers.

"We don't want a repeat of the same, that is why we are asking rally fans to cooperate with the security officers manning the roads," said the Safari Rally CEO.

Kimathi, who was flanked by senior security officers and members of the rally’s organizing committee, attributed some of the hiccups during the last event to teething problems, especially on the issue of spectators.

"This time round, we have partnered with Quickmart Supermarkets in setting up strategic mobile eating outlets at various places," he said.

He termed as illegal the use of the WRC and Safari Rally logo by traders branding their outlets in a bid to woo clientele, terming it “a highly protected brand.”

“We want to warn such traders that they should not brand their personal enterprises as WRC event. Those doing so are acting against the laid down regulations and without authority,” he cautioned.

“We have licensed only one rally village... we as organisers are only associated with one event, the Koroga Festival. We have allowed them to operate... It is an event that we are in full control of and will ensure security is provided to the highest standards,” he added.

He was categorical that hawking by the roadside will not be allowed unlike last year, revealing that the County Government of Nakuru had licensed 46 traders who have been advised on strategic locations that they will be stationed.

He called on the business community to remain stationed at the current premises without encroaching on the roads during the event.

He reminded Kenyans that the country was the only one in Africa to host an event on that magnitude, underscoring the importance of the global event.

He put a caveat on the rally followers on the new hybrid rally cars, terming them a danger.

"You only touch the car when the light turns green... when it is red, it a no go zone,” he warned.

He said 12 hybrid rally cars taking part in the global event, and fielded by Toyota, Ford and Hyundai, have never been driven in the African continent.

Kimathi, himself a former rally driver, welcomed global motorsport lovers to tour the country known for exciting tourist sites, including the wild animals, saying the airports were now open following the relaxation of the Covid 19 rules.

"Even if we have more than 200,000 guests, we shall be more than happy to accommodate them," he said.

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