President Uhuru Kenya with FIA president Jean Todt and Kenya Motorsport Federation KMSF chairman Phienas Kimathi and KMSF Board Member Jassy Rai at State House last year. FILE PHOTO: STANDARD]

International Automobile Federation President Jean Toldt said the safety of drivers and the public is always their major concern and a key success factor, which leads to their decision in asserting the hosting rights of their events.

“Safety of drivers and the public on different roads is and has always been a key factor that determines the possibilities of where to host the rally in our all global championships,” Toldt told Standard Sports.

As Kenya brace to keep its hosting rights for more years and the demand by Safari Rally fans to have the event given a permanent status in the WRC calendar, Toldt said they’ll have no problem if the government keeps the required standards in future.

Toldt who is also the United Nations Secretary General’s Ambassador for Road Safety said he has confidence in the Kenya government to achieve their mandatory requirements in order to keep the WRC status.

“The government has tremendously worked hard to achieve our goals and this is a result of good stewardship of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed,’ he said when he toured the KWSTI Service Park in Naivasha.

He also commended the Kenya Motor Sports Federation under the stewardship of President Phineas Kimathi for steady administration that ensured Kenya granted the WRC hosting rights for Safari Rally to return to the WRC fold after 19-years hiatus.

Last week, Kimathi said they’ll do all in their means to retain the event as a WRC championships for a number of years.

“We worked for it (Safari Rally) to achieve the WRC status and therefore we cannot just sit on our laurels and lose it just like the hard work,” he said in a Citizen Television talk show.

Toldt said he was proud of Kenya for attaining this status pointing out the pride also goes to Africa.

Meanwhile, Nzioka Waita was happy to have seen the fans back on Kenyan streets after almost two decades.

Waita who is State House Chief of Staff said he was out to ensure he finishes the rally despite myriad challenges they faced in the rocky terrain of Naivasha yesterday.

 “We’ll play our part and do our best to ensure we complete the rally championships,” he said.

Waita stressed the need for youngsters taking the sport saying they need to be motivated in the acquisition of sponsorships to make their involvement easier.

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