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SPORTS

Young speed-merchants Kimathi, Wahome, Anwar receive brand new Ford Fiesta R3 for Safari

UNIQUE SPORTS By Ochieng Oyugi | June 9th 2021
 
Kenya Airways sponsor Safari Rally drivers ahead of world safari rally to be held in Naivasha, Kenya. June 9, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Three young drivers are all smiles after the national carrier Kenya Airways and the International Automobile Federation (FIA) came to their aid on Wednesday.

McRae Kimathi, Hamza Anwar and Jeremy Wahome will now ply trade-in brand new Ford Fiesta R3 machines at the WRC Safari Rally slated for Naivasha on June 24-27, courtesy of FIA.

In addition, the boys have received a Sh 10 million support from Kenya Airways that will aid their travelling to various countries in Europe to attend the FIA Young Star program that they will attend for the next three years.

"The cars are manufactured and assembled by M-Sport from Poland.

"The machines will arrive in the country on Friday," WRC Safari Rally CEO, Phineas Kimathi told Standard Sports.

Kimathi said McRae, 26, qualified for the program by virtue of being the current KNRC Division One leader.

"He was the youngest finisher in the WRC candidate rally held in Kenya in 2019.

"Currently, McRae is the highest-ranked indigenous driver after his eighth overall finish in the ARC Equator Rally held in Naivasha in April," said Kimathi.

The 2017 Autocross champion Anwar joined the prestigious FIA program based on his fourth-place finish in the Arusha Rally in Tanzania and his fifth-place finish in the Equator Rally which was a continental event.

"Wahome is quite a fast driver; he was racing in the British Formula Three championships and the Malaysian Formula BMW which is equivalent to the British Formula 4.

"Besides that, all the three are under the 27-year bracket required for the program," explained Kimathi.

Anwar is glad to have bid his former Subaru GVB 14 car bye saying he can't wait to lay his hand on the new Ford Fiesta R3.

"None of us has ever tested the vehicle; the cars are yet to be developed in Africa.

"I believe the machines will be quite reliable, strong and very quick to conquer the Safari Rally," said Anwar.

Anwar aims to bring victory home in his class at the Safari.

He hopes to also bring home the car in one piece at the expected gruelling challenge in Naivasha.

"I promise my fans a good showdown in the Safari Rally," said Anwar.

Driver McRae Kimathi and his Navigator Shamfer Yusuf during Kenya Airways sponsorship for three Safari Rally drivers ahead of world safari rally to be held in Naivasha, Kenya. June 9, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

McRae,26, reiterated he is targeting an impressive finish in Naivasha with the new car.

He has already sold his Subaru Imprezza N12 after receiving the good news of the FIA scholarship that will offer him a Ford Fiesta R3 which he claims to be his dream car.

"With the new machine,I hope to better my previous results at the Safari Rally," McRae said.

"I look forward to learning from the best across the globe through the FIA program, as we hope to be better drivers and more professionals in the years to come," he added.

Wahome,22, hopes to gain more experience in rallying from the Safari.

He believes he will transition well from Formula 3 to rallying.

"Once I get my footing right, I'll start comparing myself with other rally drivers.

"For now I just want to get going and get experience for the sport," Wahome said.

Wahome hopes to race more in Europe with the help of the FIA scholarship.

Kenya Airways CEO Allan Kilavuka said funds from the sponsorships will cater for the drivers travelling expenses to the FIA schools.

"We are glad to be part of this initiative meant to grow young talents that will be the future Kenyan champions," noted Kilavuka.

The sponsorship is in line with the airline's strategy to support and grow sports in Kenya and Africa.

"It's a long term partnership which is mutually beneficial.

"We promise to play our part as we are eager to associate with the WRC Safari Rally," added Kilavuka.

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