• Kimathi is among six representatives and will be in-charge of Africa and Middle East.
• Kimathi's appointment gives Kenya a voice and a seal of approval in the Paris-based organisation ahead of Safari Rally’s return to the world championship, possibly next year.
Kenya Motor Sport Federation chairman Phineas Kimathi has been appointed as a Representative of Organisers in the powerful Federation Internationale de I’Automobile (FIA) World Rally Championship Commission.
This gives Kenya a voice and a seal of approval in the Paris-based organisation ahead of Safari Rally’s return to the world championship, possibly next year.
He is among six representatives and will be in-charge of Africa and Middle East. He is also the first black man to serve in the FIA.
Kimathi, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the WRC Safari Rally Project, is in Geneva where he accepted his appointment.
The World Rally Championship Commission brings together important personalities in the sport. Waltraud Wunsch, Nathan Norton (Hyundai) and Pierre Budar (Citroen) will represent manufacturers.
Kimathi, who was elected chairman of KMSF three years ago, is expected to drive the Safari Rally agenda especially this year when it will run as a WRC Candidate Event between July 5-7 in Kiambu, Naivasha and Nairobi counties.
The FIA sent Michelle Mouton to come and inspect the proposed Safari Rally route and ensure safety standards are adhered to. The WRC Promoter also sent two experts Briton Iain Campbell and Jarmo Lehtinen of Finland.
The Safari exited the world championship in 2002 but Kimathi and a team of dedicated experts have been driving the Safari Rally agenda. Kimathi said he is determined to ensure the Safari return back to the championship next year. And also make sure the sport thrives at all levels.
The government has been the biggest supporter of the Safari Rally in cash and kind. The Safari is expected to increase tourist arrivals as as many as 50,000 people visit countries hosting the championship. Besides, over Sh1 billion is expected to be injected into the Kenyan economy.