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RALLY TECHNOLOGY HITS THIKA TOWN AS ACTION RETURNS AFTER A 12-YEAR HIATUS

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Organizers of this weekend’s KCB Thika Rally are leaving nothing to chance regarding safety of spectators and competitors.

Tomorrow’s event, which revs off at the Thika-based Mount Kenya University (MKU), will be privileged with services of a state-of-the-art RBI rRally Management System designed to track competition cars in real time.

The system, according to Thika Rally Tracking Officer Harry Sagoo, comprises of a transponder for each vehicle, a cloud-based management portal, mobile apps, and timing/management accessories, all of which together provide advanced vehicle-to-vehicle/race control safety warnings, global tracking coverage and automated timing features.

In the event that a rally car experiences difficulty or is involved in an accident, organisers are able to pinpoint the location of the competitor in distress to enable the organisation to take appropriate action.

Sagoo explains: “Motorsport has always been a sport with an element of risk, hence the need for a sophisticated management system to track the rally traffic in real time. The system was introduced in Kenya five years ago when timing disputes were becoming the order of the day. The system also provides live timing as soon as drivers check into the controls. This is a major step forward for organisers more so as Kenya prepares to host the 2022 edition of WRC,” said Sagoo.

Meanwhile, rally cars completed a rigorous pre-event inspection outside Kasarani Stadium’s WRC Safari secretariat where over 17 cars were cleared to participate in tomorrow’s rally.

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Clerk of the Course, Hellen Shiri nevertheless noted that safety and COVID-19 guidelines will apply for all and sundry attending the event.

Shiri, who is also the WRC Safari Rally Secretary, added that spectators will only be allowed access to the long Buffalo stage  a day prior to the raceday.

“The essence is to avoid spectator traffic on Sunday given the fact that the Buffalo stage will be live from 8:18am. Otherwise, those coming on Sunday can view action from the MKU Pavilion. Rally-sport events make up a substantial part of the sports tourism market in the country. Some of Kenya’s biggest sporting events like WRC Safari, provide great opportunities for sports tourism. In terms of tourism development, KNRC events like Thika Rally can be catalysts of economic opportunities, when there is proper use of destination branding and infrastructure development.,” Shiri explained.

Part of the highlight for the event is the designated 3.2km spectator stage at the MKU Graduation Pavilion where fans will be allocated parking outside the venue and walk into the designated viewing area. The Pavillion stage will be repeated twice as SS2 and SS6.

The repeat run of 28.48km Ndula stage is the designated power stage where the top three drivers will earn bonus points towards the championship. 

Issa Amwari and his partner Job Njiru in an Evolution 10 will be the first ones of the ramp tomorrow followed by Jasmeet Chana, Eric Bengi, leader Carl Tundo and defending Champion Baldev Chager.

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