Safari rally takes a step closer to 2020 WRC return

The return of a Safari Rally to the World Rally Championship in 2020 could take a step closer to reality this weekend with Kenya hosting a candidate event.

The rally opens with a superspecial stage in the Kenyan capital Nairobi this Friday, before the focus switches to the service park alongside Lake Naivasha – the base for the weekend's action.

More than 51 crews will tackle a 14-stage route which encompasses 786 kilometres, 256 of which are competitive through the Great Rift Valley.

The iconic rally hasn't been a feature of the WRC calendar since it was last held in 2002, but there is hope it will return next year with an official decision to be made by the World Motor Sport Council next week.

There is a desire to see the WRC return to Africa both from within the sport and from top Kenyan politicans, including president Uhuru Kenyatta.

"We want to get the rally back to what it used to be many years back, when world beaters converged in Kenya for what was the world’s toughest rally.

"We will work together with the organisation running motorsports (Kenya Motor Sports Federation) to see how we can give Safari its lost WRC glory."

Representatives from the manufacturer teams will attend the event along with officials from the FIA and WRC Promoter.