What Country Has The Most World Cup Championships Safari Rally Set to Return to the World Championships

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Safari Rally Set to Return to the World Championships

Kenya’s safari rally, the once famous and popular world championship event, has struggled unsuccessfully to return to lost status. The safari lost its place in the World Rally Series after the Kenyan government failed to provide sufficient funding for the event.

That will change if the rally gets the go-ahead from the world championship organizers, who have just observed the Safari rally organized in the country. Kenyan organizers are optimistic that they have been able to convince the world that the gathering will meet the high standards set by the world body.

The Safari Rally began in the late 1950s as a commemoration of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. Originally its name was the coronation rally. After Kenya became an independent state in 1963, the rally changed its name to the East African Safari. The contestants covered the three East African countries of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

This changed in 1977 with the collapse of the East African Community. The rally became a Kenyan affair. With massive international participation and sponsorship, the rally was arguably the most popular world championship event outside of Europe and by far the most challenging. The drivers took it more like an adventure ride. Rallying in the literary bush, with herds of wild animals competing for the roads with the rally cars was fun!

But it wasn’t just drivers who loved the Safari. In the late 1980s, the BBC pulled coverage of the Safari apparently because it was sponsored by Marlboro, a cigarette manufacturer. However, by conducting an opinion poll about the move, it became clear that the move was against the wishes of the majority of Britons. They had to restore their coverage.

Another group of stakeholders who appreciated Safari highly were motor vehicle manufacturers. It was felt that if any vehicle conquered Africa, then it could conquer anywhere else in the world. Therefore, none of the manufacturers wanted to lose Safari. Therefore, the safari became a must-see event for all stakeholders.

Insensitive behavior and bad politics in the late 1990s soured relations between the Kenyan organizers and the World Rally Championship organizers. This led to Safari being suspended from the world championship series. Concerted efforts to bring the rally back to the World Series have yet to bear fruit.

At the just-concluded BKK Safari rally in the country, world cup scouts were said to be monitoring the organization with a view to sending their recommendations to the world body. This raised some hopes that Safari will regain its former glory. It also means that opportunists who have been sitting on the sidelines hoping that Safari will be transferred to their countries will have their hopes dashed.

South Africa has long been rumored to have an interest in moving the world championship event there. Egypt, Tanzania and Zimbabwe have also had an interest, although the latter have a battered economy to sort out first. The interest is not in vain.

The country that eventually gets the nod from the world championship organizers will win in a big way. Apart from the direct benefits that come as a result of the injection of money from drivers and data during the rally, the host country receives massive publicity during the rally period.

In a world where all major events are broadcast worldwide on live TV, coverage ends up becoming very valuable in the later days. It is an opportunity to market the country as a tourist destination, renewable every year, with an almost guaranteed effect. The thrill of rally cars competing with wild animals for trucks in remote parts of Africa makes everyone want to share the experience at some point in their life.

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