Wed, 12 Aug 2020

NAIROBI, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan organizers have stepped up preparations for the return of the historic Safari Rally, despite the postponement of the event's return to the World Rally Championship (WRC) to 2021.

The rally was set to make its comeback on the WRC roster for the first time since 2002, but was delayed to 2021 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

WRC Safari Rally chief executive officer Phineas Kimathi said in a statement that his secretariat is still working with the initial dates of July 16 to 19 in preparing for the event.

On July 4, the former rally driver led a WRC Safari Rally management team on update visits of the Service Park in Naivasha that will be critical in hosting the event.

"We are following the initial schedule that we had set out for this year's Safari Rally, assuming everything needed to be ready for July 15," Kimathi said on Thursday.

"We had targeted to finish the Service Park by last week, but because of the COVID-19 situation work slowed down a bit, but even then, the contractor has done 75 percent of the work," he added.

Kimathi noted the government has played a key role in making sure preparations for the WRC Safari Rally were in top gear.

Several rounds of the World Rally Championship were canceled this year due to a global lockdown following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just three rounds had been held in Monte Carlo, Sweden and Mexico before the virus struck, and a reworked 2020 calendar was announced recently with Rally Estonia making its debut after running as a WRC promotional event in 2019.

Fresh dates for the 2021 WRC Safari Rally will be communicated soon.

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