Safaricom is rolling out a Kes 17.5 million sponsorship deal for the Safari Rally as the event makes a comeback to the World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar for the first time in nearly twenty years.
Part of the sponsorship includes Kes 15 million package, which will go towards supporting three young Kenyan drivers selected as part of the FIA Rally Star programme.
This is a global initiative aimed at identifying, training and developing talented young drivers between 17 and 26 years.
“We have always believed in supporting the youth by giving them a platform to showcase their talent and to excel, whether this is through sports, music or the arts. The FIA programme allows us to support the WRC Safari Rally while also pursuing our passion point of empowering youth. The three young Kenyan drivers we’ll be supporting have the potential to become the next big stars and with the Safari Rally now back on the WRC calendar, they get to showcase their talents on an international stage,” said Peter Ndegwa, CEO, Safaricom.
The three young Kenyan drivers, who have been selected for the FIA Rally star programme are Jeremy Wahome and Hamza Anwar who are both aged 22 as well as 26-year-old McRae Mutwiri Kimathi.
Hamza Anwar, who has been following in his father Asad Anwar and uncle Azar Anwar footsteps, has been racing in the motorsport world. His latest participation in motorsports was in the African Rally Championship Equator Rally where he came out in 5th place, becoming the youngest finisher of the Equator Rally.
Jeremy Wahome on the other hand started go-karting at the age of eight in the Rift Valley Motorsports club championship. At 18, he competed in the British Formula Three Championship – a series won in the past by the likes of Ayrton Senna and Mika Hakkinen, who went on to be crowned Formula One World Champions. Jeremy is also a student at Cheltenham College and recently set up a library in Kibera.
McRae Mutwiri Kimathi started rallying at the age of 15 when he joined the Abdul Sidi Rally School in 2015. His interest in being a rally driver was sparked at an early age since he hails from a motorsport family with his dad, Phineas Kimathi, having been a Formula Two champion in his hey-days. His most recent finish was eighth at this year’s African Rally Championship Equator Rally.
“The ultimate objective of FIA Rally Star programme is to develop drivers who have the potential to become future stars of the World Rally Championship by encouraging the emergence of a new generation of drivers and to identify those with the greatest potential to target a professional career,” said Phineas Kimathi, President of the Kenya Motorsport Federation and CEO WRC Safari Rally.
A total of 58 rally drivers including 34 Kenyan racers are set to participate in this year’s Safari Rally which will take place between June 24 and 27.