SA hopes to host World Rally champs

2012-06-23 07:25

The World Rally Championships (WRC) is the second biggest motorsport event in the world, and if South Africa gets the nod, it will be heading this way in 2014.

Costa Costantinou, CEO of Kagiso Vantage, a subsidiary of Kagiso Media, says various parties made an effort in 2003 and in 2007 to bring the WRC to local shores.

“During 2010 we did some public viewing of areas to try and find ways to implement the legacy of success after the Soccer World Cup and we thought the WRC could fit that bill perfectly,” he says.

The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) plans to bring back the sport to the continent in an attempt to make it “truly global”.

The last time it was on African soil was when the Safari Rally in Kenya got removed from the calendar in 2002.

“FIA observers and FIA vice president Surinder Thatthi will be present at the rally and use the event as a candidate test.”

The event is part of the current National Rally Championship and takes place in KwaZulu-Natal from August 16 to 18.

Says Costantinou: “I take my hat off to our local motorsport guys as they run glitch-free events on shoe-string budgets.

But this event will be held like any other international rally race so the bar will be set even higher.

“Where our rally is run by mostly volunteers, we’re going to employ people from the surrounding communities.

There’ll be more markings and marshals, helicopters, bigger medic and disaster teams at every stage.”

Costantinou adds that if this event is approved, 3 000 people will be employed for the long-term event.

“Not only will the WRC in South Africa provide job creation and boost our tourism, but the returns will be substantially higher than the money being put in.

“We’ve been funding this bid ourselves, but they provincial government and City Of Durban has been very supportive. No requests for financial help has been made until we can definitely confirm this even on the calendar,” he adds.

“We virtually have this, we just need to pull off the test and get the go-ahead,” says Constantinou.

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