South Africa is in pole position to host, for the first time, the World Rally Championship (WRC) in Kwa-Zulu Natal. The bid which is being led by Kagiso Media subsidiary company, Kagiso Vantage, (previously Mobil Alliance),is the second biggest motorsport event in the world, after the Formula 1, with a world-wide television audience of 570 million viewers in over 200 countries. Positive signs of a successful bid emerged when the country was tasked by the international motorsport body, the FIA, to host a candidate event from 16 – 18 August 2012 to test readiness.
According to Murphy Morobe, CEO of Kagiso Media, a successful bid will augur very well for the country and Kagiso Vantage. “We are happy to support an international sporting event that will contribute positively to the country. During the 2010 soccer World Cup we proved our ability, as a nation, to put together world class sporting events. We have toiled very hard to reach this point to ensure that our bid meets the criteria, ” says Morobe.
Following a ten year absence from Africa (the last one was hosted in Kenya, 10 years ago), the event is planned to take place in three areas of Kwa-Zulu Natal, namely the Valley of a Thousand Hills, Richmond and the South-Coast. The Moses Mabhida stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies as well as operate as a service park.
Mr S’bu Sithole, the City Manager of eTthekwini, says “being the host city of the event is in line with the objectives of attracting great events to Durban while at the same time encouraging tourism.”
“Such events are crucial for developing the profile of the city and province as they do not just create good PR, but have other positive spin-offs, such as tourism and job creation. The WRC has a strong emphasis on tourism, with the event televised to a wide international audience. This exposure to these international markets over a three year period can only bode well for the City and the region” says Mr Sithole.
The South African Motorsport industry also stands to benefit hugely according to Steve Miller, chairperson of Motorsport South Africa. “For teams, sponsors and other stakeholders, the importance of hosting a round of the WRC in South Africa is indisputable. It will undoubtedly raise the profile of motorsport in general and boost this discipline of the sport. We are fortunate that South Africa has a very strong reputation for being able to host major sporting events successfully in a way that unifies the Nation and showcases the country,” he concludes.
– Credit: Rally SA.