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Local drivers get Magical Kenya support ahead of WRC Safari

Kenya National Rally Championship defending champion Baldev Chager as well as local giants Onkar Rai, Tejveer Rai and Eric Bengi will race in Magical Kenya-branded rally cars on June 24-27.

In Summary

•Tourism CS Najib Balala believes the drivers will enhance Kenya's brand identity during the Safari Rally.

•The Safari Rally will be held in Naivasha, a popular tourism destination.

Tourism CS Najib Balala with rally driver Onkar Rai during the unveiling of Magical Kenya branded rally cars
Tourism CS Najib Balala with rally driver Onkar Rai during the unveiling of Magical Kenya branded rally cars
Image: HANDOUT

Kenya National Rally Championship defending champion Baldev Chager as well as local giants Onkar Rai, Tejveer Rai and Eric Bengi will race in Magical Kenya colours at the forthcoming World Rally Championship Safari Rally on June 24-27.

This is after Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) unveiled Magical Kenya-branded rally cars that will be taking part in the FIA event.

Onkar was all smiles, describing the development as a timely short in the arm.

"It's an honour to have Magical Kenya branding on our cars. It has taken us 19 years to get the WRC back in Kenya. We are hoping to give Safari our best shot," Onkar said.  

Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala unveiled two of the team's four cars at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre on Tuesday, saying that the Safari Rally has helped market Kenya to the world thanks to its great history and connection with the destination.

“The Safari Rally has been one of the most iconic sporting events in Kenya for decades and some of us remember it fondly with nostalgia. It has over the years profiled Kenya to the world as the ultimate safari destination by showcasing our many attractions,” said CS Balala.

"It is, therefore, a great moment that the event is returning to Kenya which presents us with yet another great opportunity to showcase the Magical Kenya brand."

The CS expressed optimism that the number of tourists in the country will increase in the aftermath of the event after plummeting for a while due to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent travel restrictions. 

“This event will be televised to the largest audience of all international sporting events after the Olympics. Over 850 million viewers are expected to follow the event in its 14 rounds with a total of 13,452 broadcast hours projected through the event."

"This means that we shall be visible across the world as the rally cars traverse the Kenyan terrain. I thank the rally teams for partnering with us as we work to ensure that the event is memorable to everyone,” he said.

He noted that the branded rally cars will ensure that Kenya's brand identity remains visible across the globe during all the competition rounds.

The Safari Rally will be held in Naivasha, a popular tourism destination.

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