WRC Safari Rally Unseen Side: Drivers Decry Racial Discrimination

A group of Kenyan rally drivers have provided a detailed account of the chaotic prize-giving ceremony that took place at the recently concluded WRC Safari Rally. Expressing their outrage and deep offense, the drivers have described the event as marred by ugly drama, madness, and total confusion.

They claim to have experienced extreme racism and discrimination, being treated as second-class drivers in their own country, with little respect from the top WRC officials and leadership.

While standing on the podium, receiving applause, and being awarded by a distinguished guest, such as the President, is a moment of pride for every driver, the drivers have now disclosed that the entire ceremony was a disorganized disaster that stripped them of their humanity, disenfranchised them, and left them feeling deeply dishonored.

Three days after the rally’s conclusion, Kenyan drivers Joe Kariuki, Andrew Muiruri, and Issa Amwari have come forward to reveal the discriminatory madness they witnessed at the Service Park.

They squarely place the blame on the WRC/KNRC top officials, accusing them of treating them in an utterly undignified and unprofessional manner, devoid of basic human decency.

According to Joe, who ranked 6th and drove a left-hand Subaru N14, the treatment inflicted upon some of the Kenyan drivers was completely unjustified and unnecessary, considering that these drivers underwent the same rigorous training and paid the same fees to participate in the sport.

“It was a total shame at the podium. Soon as they had conferred the awards to these big shots, alongside the President and all the media present, we were left to scramble amongst ourselves for awards. It was total chaos – you cannot believe that my navigator John Ngugi and I were left stranded on stage as a female usher passed our award to us,” Joe lamented.

Joe further expressed his disappointment as a homegrown talent, stating that he would have been satisfied receiving his award from, at the very least, the area Governor, Hon. Susan Kihika. Unfortunately, she was nowhere to be found when it was his turn to step onto the podium.

“We went through all the required regulations and passed all the tests. We were at the practice, we paid the money any driver was required to pay to enter the competition. I don’t understand how, after the visiting drivers had been awarded, we were just left stranded, confused at the podium,” he said.

“I’m born and bred in Naivasha. When we arrived here, hundreds of my Naivasha fans came out screaming my name. And after it all, I have to receive my award from a casual model? Not even, at least, from my area Governor!? What happened to recognising homegrown talent? ” Joe wondered.

Issa Amwari, who secured the fourth position in the WRC/KNRC stage while driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, felt humiliated by the fact that his award was presented by casual officials and not the rally’s CEO, at the very least.

“It was a good thing to have the President and the top officials at the Service Park. It would have been better to have him, or at least, some top rally official award us. That was not the case. I got my award after all the big guests had left – I was basically awarded by my own navigator! ” he said.

The drivers argue that their award ceremony was more of a contemptuous charade, resembling a poorly executed comedy sketch orchestrated by ungrateful WRC higher-ups.

“It was pure madness! We were left to award ourselves with no official present! All had left! We were actually awarded by a confused model who didn’t even want to be in the photo! It was like a scene from a terrible Nigerian movie!” Joe Kariuki’s navigator John Ngugi said.

Another driver, Andrew Muiruri, criticized the prejudice displayed towards the drivers. He and his fellow drivers were forced to navigate heavy traffic on their final lap to the Service Park, contending with crowds and other motorists for over 45 minutes.

“As we were leaving Hell’s Gate, on our way to the final spot, we realized that the road had been opened up and now, we had to struggle with crazy traffic as we fought to reach Service Park,” he said.

“Ordinarily, the road should be closed off until all drivers have cleared out but after the top drivers with better cars had crossed that area, they no longer manned the road leaving us struggling with exceedingly heavy traffic like ordinary drivers. We had to overlap as we feared our fuel might run out, ” he said.

Despite their exemplary performance, these talented rally drivers from Kenya feel demoralized and harbor grievances against the top authorities at the WRC.

“This is a matter we won’t take lightly. We’re some of the finest drivers in town. It took alot to get to where we were, to be able to get to the podium. And then you’re treated like a second option? In your own country? This is not the way to run the WRC in Kenya! Absolutely!” an angered Ngugi said.

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