The Safari Rally has been missing from the WRC calendar since 2002. File picture: Antony Njuguna / Reuters.

Nairobi - Kenya is hoping that its Safari Rally will return to the World Rally Championship calendar by 2019.

Richard Ekai, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, said this when he hosted FIA President Jean Todt in his office recently, and confirmed that the Kenya will fully support the bid. 

Kenya will organize next year's Safari Rally as an African championship event, which means it will have to look closely at its safety procedures and meet the set international standards. After that it plans to stage the 2018 event as a WRC Candidate Event, which will be observed by the FIA and WRC promoters. 

"We will give out funds to see that these events meet the standards set by FIA. The Government will provide one million US dollars to facilitate this in 2017," said Ekai. 

Sound financial, material and logistical support will be discussed at an inter-ministerial level through laid down protocol, Ekai told. Todt, a former Safari Rally co-driver and later team principal of Peugeot World Rally Team, said that at a personal level he would like to see the Safari Rally back in the WRC. He said President Kenyatta reassured him of his government's support when he met him last year at State House Nairobi. 

South Africa has already promised to back Kenya's WRC bid.