Rally Safari’s return to the World Rally Championship calendar has been pushed back to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision to delay the event, which was last run in 2002, has been taken jointly by the FIA, WRC and Kenyan government.
It had been scheduled as the seventh event on the calendar set to take place July 16-19, but follows several other events to be postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus.
WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla said: “We greatly regret this decision but there was unfortunately no choice given the current global situation. The championship has a duty of care to all stakeholders as well as the wider community and this remains our key focus.
“The return of Safari Rally Kenya was due to be one of the highlights of the WRC season and we extend our gratitude to President Uhuru Kenyatta, the Government of Kenya and the entire team at the WRC Safari Rally Project, headed by Phineas Kimathi, which has worked so hard. We look forward to Safari Rally Kenya in 2021.”
FIA rally director Yves Matton emphasised the effect of the Coronavirus on society across the globe.
“We were all very excited to see the WRC return to Africa and Kenya after 18 years and we are naturally disappointed that it will not happen this year, particularly given all the hard work that has been undertaken by the Kenyan government and organising team.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact in every sphere of society including motorsport and rally, but I hope we will come out stronger after this crisis and we are already looking ahead to the Safari Rally taking place in 2021.”
Government cabinet secretary Amina Mohamed, who has been a driving force behind the Safari’s WRC return, added: “Postponing the event to 2021 was not a simple decision to make. However, we are cognisant of the present global challenges and assure that the Safari Rally will mark a significant part of our country’s history as was intended for the next three years.”