Equator Rally returns to African Rally Championship series
Equator Rally is set to make its long-awaited comeback to the FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) series on the weekend of April 24-25, according to the 2021 Motorsport calendar released yesterday.
The prestigious event, synonymous with drivers like Rory Green and Azar Anwar, replaces the highly famed Safari Rally which has since been elevated to World rally Championship (WRC) status.
Safari Rally Kenya will take place on the weekend of June 24-27 around Nairobi and Naivasha areas.
The iconic Safari had been earmarked to reclaim its WRC slot in 2020 but the event was postponed to 2021 due the global outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Equator will be preceded by the season-opening ARC Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Rally which kick-starts the continental series on March 20-21.
Kenya Motor Sports Federation general manager Mwaura Njuguna while making the announcement also noted that Equator will serve as a dry run for WRC Safari.
Mwaura said: “We are glad to announce that Equator Rally will provide a dry run test for the Safari Rally Kenya event which returns to the global summit after a 19-year hiatus.”
Equator Rally was previously the official ARC round for Kenya on the ARC continental rally series prior to the dropping of Safari from WRC in 2003.
With Safari’s elevation, Equator regains its original status after being defunct for 19 years. It will also count towards the third round of the Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC).
Safari Rally took over Equator’s slot on the ARC series between 2003 and 2020. But the 2020 ARC was also cancelled due to Covid-19 issues.
Mwaura also announced new championship events on the busy 2021 calendar “geared towards bolstering growth of motorsport events countrywide.”
Among the new championships include Training Events, Hill Climbs, National Drifting Championship, Kenya National Drag Racing Championship, the Time Trials and the 4X4 Championship which will be run off-road in the “Rhino Charge’ format.
Some of the events were meant to run on a trial basis this year but failed to take off due of Covid-19 issues. Other championships remain the same on the calendar.
KNRC will start with Nakuru Rally on the weekend of February 20-21 and culminate with Guru Nanak Rally on December 4-5. The biennial East African Safari Classic Rally will take place in November.
Rhibio Chage will take place on the weekend of May 29-30. Alfa Romeo Owners Association of Kenya will hold the annual Africa Concours d’Elegance in September.