Seventeen years after the Genocide against Tutsi, the country has potential to improve the level of motorsport, according to the Federation of International Automobiles (FIA) president Jean Todt.
Todt told Times Sport in an exclusive interview at the weekend that Rwanda which has risen from the 1994 horror can still dominate African rally motorsport, but that more needs to be done.
“Rwanda is doing a good job in the development of motorsport. They have a national championship, participates in regional and Africa championship.
“The automobile club is in the right direction and they have potential to even do more because now they are organising an African event every year,” Todt said while on a one-day official visit to the country.
“The country needs to find investors such that the motorsport body can organise a rally for young drivers and even educate them.
“The country has been hardly hurt and once you’ve been hurt, you have the energy to excel and rebuild the nation,” said Todt who even pledged more support for Rwanda automobile club to help them elevate the sport to another level.
Rwanda automobile club president Yves Kagina and honorary president Dismas Kayibanda welcomed Todt and thanked him for being the first FIA president to visit Rwanda. Todt was impressed with the level of the road safety protection that the government has initiated.
He said, “Rwanda has been doing well in emphasizing the road safety campaign compared to other countries in Africa but more effort is still needed to completely enhance this road safety campaign in a bid to end road accidents.”
Africa can organize Formula One
Meanwhile, Todt noted that Africa can organize a world rally championship as well as the Formula One Grand Prix if they are committed to the cause.
“Africa is ripe to host any of those events but it depends on many factors including strong promotion, great venue and high level circuit. I would love to see an African country standing forward to request for any of the event,” stated the Frenchman.
The Safari Rally was last staged as a WRC event in 2002 but since 2003 the event has been part of the African Rally Championship (ARC) organised by the FIA. It is currently known as the KCB Safari Rally.
Africa last hosted a formula one race in South Africa in the Kyalami circuit and the last race was way back in 1993. Earlier, the FIA head met the Protais Mitali, minister of Youth, Sport and Culture.