The 2023 World Rally Championships (WRC) Safari Rally got off to a thrilling start today for the much anticipated 4-day event that will be held at Naivasha, Nakuru County as bigwigs go head-to-head.
As the official financial partner, KCB Bank Kenya will provide Kes150 million to this year’s race, which will mark 20 years since the regional banking giant began supporting racing in Kenya.
A total of Kes100 million of the sponsorship money will go directly to the 2023 WRC Safari Rally event, while Kes50 million will go toward sponsoring three local drivers, brand activations, and customer engagements.
Nikhil Sachania, Evans Kavisi, and KNRC champion Karan Patel are the three drivers. Tauseef Khan, a trusted friend for many years, will steer Karan Patel, while Deep Patel and Absalom Aswani will steer Nikhil Sachania and Evans Kavisi, respectively.
The sponsorship highlights KCB’s dedication to promoting racing in the nation. Over the previous 20 years, the bank has invested over Kes1.5 billion, with the Safari Rally’s return to the World Rally Championships after a 20-year absence.
KCB Group CEO Paul Russo said: “We believe in building a critical pool of sporting talent that can compete locally and internationally. We also recognize the role of sports in enhancing national cohesion therefore, our support goes a long way in fostering not only the growth of our economy but also bringing people together to enjoy motorsports.” Mr Russo spoke during the ceremonial flag-off in Nairobi.
Read also: KCB sponsors 2023 WRC Safari Rally
The WRC’s toughest round gets underway tomorrow (Friday) when the vehicles drive to the Kedong Spectator Stage near Naivasha, where they will pass through twice throughout the day. On the same day, Longonot will host the alternate stage. The action will take place on Saturday near Nakuru at the Soysambu Spectator stage.
The competition will come to an end on Sunday at the Hells Gate with a live podium presentation honoring the top three participants who completed the Wolf Power stage the fastest. The final finish award giving ceremony will be held at WRTI Service Park in Naivasha for all other cars.
Kalle Rovanperä, the defending WRC Safari Rally champion, and the other 22 crews who have signed up for this year’s competition will compete for the title in the top WRC 1 class.
11 crews have signed up for the WRC2 class, while just 5 will be in the WRC3. Evans and Nikhil’s KCB racing team will compete in the national division, which comprises 4 competitors. The KNRC is the last class, and it has 11 drivers signed up, including Jasmeet Chana and Carl Tundo, who is also the chairman of the WRC Local Organizing Committee.
In 2019, KCB became the Official Financial Partner for the Safari Rally Kenya for the World Rally Championship (WRC) Rally, with a 3-year commitment of KShs 250 Million starting with a WRC Candidate event staged in June 2019.