In pictures: Ruto flags off 2023 WRC shakedown in Naivasha

President William Ruto flags off the 2023 World Rally Championship (WRC) at the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) in Naivasha on Wednesday, June 21, 2023. [PSC]

It is all systems go for the 2023 World Rally Championship (WRC) which President William Ruto flagged off at the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) in Naivasha on Wednesday.

Accompanied by Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba, Ruto said the rally taking place from June 22 to June 25, will be a great opportunity for the country.

"It is a wonderful moment for those who are coming to watch. It will also be a great opportunity for the people of Nakuru County as well as for the country. It is a great moment because I have been told that 19 million trees will be planted as part of the event's greening aspect," said Ruto.

The president said this year's edition of WRC is special to Kenya as the country marks 70 of being an active participant.

The shakedown event allows the drivers to test the terrain, and make sure that their cars are mechanically sound and that the driver is comfortable in them.

In the shakedown, a total of 4.8 kilometres will be covered to Loldia.

On Thursday, 121 kilometres will be covered, from Uhuru Park to Kasarani in Nairobi.

As a way of encouraging women to take part in the sport, the government has sponsored three lady drivers.

This year's rally has a bigger number of women compared to last year's Safari rally event. At least 34 drivers will be taking part in the race, 10 of them being Kenyans.

President William Ruto, Sports CS Ababu Namwamba, Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika and participants during the flagging off of the 2023 World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally at the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) in Naivasha, on Wednesday, June 21, 2023. [Photos by PCS]

A total of 357 Kilometers are expected to be covered in all 19 grueling stages located in the scenic Rift Valley region.

Drivers are expected to cover a total of 125 kilometers making sure to pass through Loldia, Geothermal and Kedong as racing zones on Fiday.

On Saturday, the activity will take a turn to Soysambu, Elementaita and Sleeping Warrior as the day's racing zones, covering a distance of 150.08 kilometres.

Finally, the curtains will be drawn on Sunday with races through Malewa, Oserian and Hell's Gate.

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