KCB’s Safari Rally boost timely as entries pour in

KCB's Sh150 million sponsorship of this year's WRC Safari Rally

WRC Safari Rally CEO Phineas Kimathi (centre) poses with the dummy cheque as Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba (third right), KCB Group CEO Paul Russo (second right), Sports Principal Secretary Peter Tum (second left), WRC Safari Rally Local Organising Committee chairman Carl Tundo (right) look on during the launch of KCB's Sh150 million sponsorship of this year's WRC Safari Rally at Kencom House in Nairobi on May 19, 2023. 

Photo credit: Pool | WRC Safari Rally

What you need to know:

  • Finland’s Kalle Rovanpera is back on top of the FIA World Rally Championship standings after a dominant drive to win in Portugal for the second year in succession last week.
  • The victory was the first of the season for reigning world champions Rovanpera and co-driver Jonne Halttunen, and moves them to the head of the standings by 17 points.

Next month’s WRC Safari Rally received a timely shot in the arm when KCB Bank Kenya returned to support motorsports with a Sh150 million deal for Kenya’s round of the World Rally Championship.

Of the amount, Sh100 million will go directly to the event, with the bank also sponsoring three Kenyan drivers — Karan Patel, Evans Kavisi and Nikil Sachania — at a cost of Sh17.4 million.

The rest of the sponsorship amount will be used for activations to publicise the rally that will be held in Naivasha and Nairobi.

Speaking at the sponsorship launch last Friday, Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba said the Government will also support three junior drivers, McRae Kimathi, Jeremiah Wahome and Hamza Anwar.

Long-term partnership

KCB Bank Kenya supported the Kenya National Rally Championship for the past two decades before taking a break.

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Organisers of next month’s WRC Safari Rally have so far received 28 entries for FIA World Rally Championship round, nine of them Kenyan.

The majority of the entries have been received from foreign crews including the big three manufacturer teams Ford, Toyota and Hyundai.

Reigning world champion and Safari Rally title holder from last year, Finland’s Kalle Rovanpera navigated by Jonne Halttunen, lead the Toyota Yaris GR R1 Hybrid team that has so far won four out of five World Rally Championship rounds this season.

Second Toyota driver enteredDNation bodytext ragged : Frenchman Sebastien Ogier, the 2021 Safari winner who has this season triumphed in Monte Carlo and Mexico, is the second Toyota driver entered for Kenya to score WRC points despite having a limited competition programme this season.

Others are Briton Elfyn Evans, winner in Croatia last month, and Japanese Katsuta Takamoto, second in Kenya in 2021.

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Finland’s Kalle Rovanpera is back on top of the FIA World Rally Championship standings after a dominant drive to win in Portugal for the second year in succession last week.

The victory was the first of the season for reigning world champions Rovanpera and co-driver Jonne Halttunen, and moves them to the head of the standings by 17 points.

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