Lessons from Estonia to make Safari Rally bigger and better

Uhuru Kenyatta and Julius Kabiru

WRC Safari Rally Patron President Uhuru Kenyatta accompanied by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta meets the security team which oversaw the 2022 WRC Safari Rally led by Police Commissioner Julius Kabiru (third right) next to the Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai, Kenya Wildlife Research and Training Institute Director Dr. Patrick Omondi and Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Mohamed Adan at Hell's Gate at the end of 2022 WRC Safari Rally on June 26, 2022.

Photo credit: Peter Njenga | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Tartu is a well-established university town and Estonia has a strong presence in tech startups.
  • Top WRC drivers Kalle Rovanpera, Oliver Solberg and Adrien Formaux played disc-golf with Estonian disc-golf players in biathlon World Cup ski jumping hill in Otepää.

The World Rally Championship Promoter is proposing more interaction and activations with other sporting federations for host countries of the WRC events in future following a paradigm shift in the WRC Estonia last month.

Estonian rally organisers teamed up with their sporting personalities ahead of the competition and welcomed the rally fraternity in style.

Kenya can emulate this by forging partnerships between the WRC Safari Rally Kenya, Kenya Motor Sports Federation and other sporting federations to get more mileage.

Rally enthusiates in Estonia experienced some excellent activation from working with local dignitaries and well-known athletes.

This led to incredible exposure for the rally and also provided the opportunity for the WRC to work with other sports federations to bring a new audience to the championship.

Furthermore, it provided invaluable exposure for Tourism Estonia (#VisitEstonia).

The WRC Promoter officials, who had pitched camp at Lake Naivasha Resort during the WRC Safari Rally in June, were impressed by the presence of a large number of business personalities, government officials and top influencers who were on site during the Koroga Festival.

 Jamaican Reggae maestro Tarrus Riley brought the curtain down on June 26, making the Safari more of an outdoor festival rather than purely a sporting event.

There are proposed plans to create better synergies to bring these people up to the service park as well and make them part of the WRC Safari Rally.

Kenya is endowed with world-class sporting personalities and some of them are admired by the WRC drivers like men’s world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge and Africa’s fastest man Ferdinard Omanyala who paid a courtesy call on WRC Safari Rally Chief Executive Officer Phineas Kimathi before this year’s competition.

Omanyala expressed his desire to meet the fastest drivers in the world, or trying his hand on a rally car.

 A pre-event press conference for top drivers at the Nairobi National Park; a visit to the Giraffe Centre, peaking with an exhibition race between top Kenyan drivers either at Nyayo or Kasarani stadiums would create a bigger and better buzz for rallying and sports disciplines.

Kenyan musclemen of rugby, too, would resonate well with other countries hosting the WRC.

Ethiopian athletics all-time great Haile Gebrselassie is one of the goodwill ambassadors who supports the #3500LIVES road safety campaign by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and the n°1 outdoor advertising company, JCDecaux.

This worldwide campaign on road safety was first launched in Paris on March 10, 2017 and made available in 30 cities.

The campaign received support from the head of the Catholic Church Pope Francis, and 13 ambassadors from different backgrounds including athletes like Yohan Blake, Antoine Griezmann, Vanessa Low, Rafael Nadal, and Wayde van Niekerk.
They are joined by F1 drivers Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Nico Rosberg, and Moto GP rider Marc Marquez.

Others are artists like Pharrell Williams and Michelle Yeoh, and politicians like former mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo.

In Estonia, for example, world number two tennis player Anett Kontaveit played with French rally driver Pierre-Louis Loubet on top of the Estonian National Museum and Rally Estonia headquarters to promote the upcoming WTA tennis tournament Tallinn Open in Estonia next month.

Anett Kontaveit, the co-driver of Estonian ace Ott Tänak in Rally Estonia shakedown, was part of the WRC team principals opening Rally Estonia with retro rally trucks.

The WRC drivers visited Ahhaa Science Center in Tartu and held a competition with radio controlled cars that they modified themselves to bring attention to the importance of science and engineering both for WRC and Estonia.

Tartu is a well-established university town and Estonia has a strong presence in tech startups.

Top WRC drivers Kalle Rovanpera, Oliver Solberg and Adrien Formaux played disc-golf with Estonian disc-golf players in biathlon World Cup ski jumping hill in Otepää.

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