Rally News

Kenya launches motorsport academy to nurture future WRC stars

Esapekka Lappi, Janne Ferm, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

The Talanta Motorsport Academy is the latest addition to the Kenya Academy of Sports (KAS), based near the site of the rally’s opening stage at Kasarani in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi.

The academy was launched by Kenya’s deputy president Rigathi Gachagua, who described the project as a major milestone in Kenyan sporting history. Kenya has a rich motorsport history through Safari Rally Kenya, which celebrated its 70th anniversary last year.

The new initiative will be supported by the Kenyan government and corporate partners.

World Rally champions Ott Tanak and Petter Solberg and WRC2 star Oliver Solberg attended the inauguration of academy on the eve of the African nation’s biggest global sporting event.

The trio met some of Kenya’s emerging talent at the launch offering advice to country’s next wave of aspiring drivers. Local rally legends Karan Patel, Patrick Njiru, Abdul Sidi and Azar Anwar were among those in attendance.

Esapekka Lappi, Janne Ferm, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Photo by: Austral / Hyundai Motorsport

“I finished the Safari fifth, twice in 1999 and 2000 and retired in the 2001 and 2002 editions. My advice to aspiring Kenyan drivers is that they should never give up as nothing is impossible,” said Petter Solberg.

Tanak told a group of young hopefuls that “you must continue to aim higher and live your dream as a thousand-mile journey begins with one step.”

The launch of new motorsport academy is part of a push to invest in developing Kenya as a motorsport hub.

“Motorsport is special to Kenyans and with the rich history of these successful events like the Safari – which celebrated its 70th anniversary last year s- Kenya is laying the foundation of soil, growing and grooming its talent,” said Gachagua.

“We’re rebuilding and positioning Kenya as a motorsport hub and factoring in talent and investment on a global scale.”

Sports cabinet secretary Ababu Namwamba, added: “We have now opened the door of the Motorsport Academy to children from this neighbourhood of Kasarani and other parts of the country. Those children will be fully funded to enable them realise their potential in motorsports.”

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