What you need to know:
- The rally cars will be returning to the service park three times a day during the June 24-27 competition, therefore offering rallying enthusiasts a chance to see the competitors.
- While the rally will start in Nairobi, the competitive sections will be around Naivasha, along with a power stage at the Hell’s Gate National Park where the finish and prize-giving ceremony is also planned, just outside the park.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed says she’s happy with the progress made so far by organisers of the WRC Safari Rally 2021 after observing live simulations of medical evacuation, safety and security operations in Naivasha on Wednesday.
The simulations were done at the Kenya Wildlife Training Institute which will be the nerve centre of the June 24-27 WRC Safari Rally and where the Service Park will be located.
The demonstration involved evacuation of “injured” competitors from a rally car which was driven by veteran rally driver Asad Khan around a gravel section of the Service Park.
Officials from the WRC Promoter - the marketing arm of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) - Iain Campbell and Joao Passos – were on ground to witness the comprehensive dress rehearsal.
Later, under the supervision of the WRC Safari Rally’s Chief Medical Officer Raj Jutley, the "victim" of the “accident” was extricated, place on a special stretcher, examined and loaded into a medical helicopter which did a round before landing back to base.
"Extrication from the car should not take more than 15 seconds," explained Jutley, who commended his deputy David Karuri and his team for masterminding the whole exercise lawlessly.
Action for Road Safety
There will be standby medical helicopters airborne, a requirement from the international sport's governing body, the FIA, along with tens of fully-equipped ambulances on the ground.
CS Amina said she was fully satisfied with efforts being actualised well ahead of schedule and prayed that the same can be replicated in daily road activities in Kenya.
"His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta and FIA President Jean Todt agreed to establish an Action for Road Safety Programme to embed the values of safe motoring during Jean Todt's visit to Kenya in November, 2020," said the CS.
"The Road Safety Campaign was launched in support of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety with a focus on Road Safety and Motoring Education.
“More importantly, this programme will bolster the safety prerogatives put in place by the Safari Safety, Security and Medical teams," the CS added.
The WRC Safari Rally’s Chief Safety Officer Norris Ongalo put the assembled team through the intricacies of safety for both competitors and fans and displayed hydraulic cutting machines which can save a life at the shortest possible time.
The Naivasha Service Park was like a battleground after the head of WRC Safari Rally security, Police Commissioner Julius Kabiru, seconded to the WRC Safari Rally by the government, exhibited an armada of military hardware manned by the crack unit General Service Unit who were on location to showcase Kenya's military might.
A National Police Service helicopter was on standby for use by a rapid commando deployment unit.
"We have engaged a multi-disciplinary security deployment, and have not spared no effort in developing a bespoke solution for the WRC Safari Rally 2021," said Kabiru.
"We will not only secure the 1,000 kilometres covered by the rally, but also ensure you will be safe from the port of entry, throughout your stay and at the port of exit," assured Kabiru.
He said the security plan, which has been shared with top government officials, Todt and the FIA hierarchy, has identified areas of concern which include risk and threats management, operation readiness and continuous testing.
He added: "Due to the magnitude and calibre of the event, we shall draw heavy multi-agency security deployment, and the government through the National Police Command in partnership with security agencies shall have a robust security plan to ensure security of the event, participants and the general public."
CS Amina underscored the importance of the Safari as a sporting and commercial venture which is expected to inject in excess of Sh6 billion into the Kenyan economy, a worthy investment of which the government has committed over Sh600 million.
She also said all the safety protocols aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus were in place, adding that the event will be largely held outdoors, thus limiting the possible spread of the virus.
The CEO of the WRC Safari Rally Phineas Kimathi said the simulation exercise was done to show the Local Organising and Steering Committees of the journey so far covered towards 2021 Safari despite Covid-19 hiccups.
He thanked Jassy Rai, a member of the Steering Committee, for working very hard behind the scenes including government protocols which resulted into the Safari returning back in the WRC after 18 years.
"Security is up to scratch and we want to assure all the participants of their safety. The country is safe...," he said.
The rally cars will be returning to the service park three times a day during the June 24-27 competition, therefore offering rallying enthusiasts a chance to see the competitors.
While the rally will start in Nairobi, the competitive sections will be around Naivasha, along with a power stage at the Hell’s Gate National Park where the finish and prize-giving ceremony is also planned, just outside the park.