The WRC Safari Rally zooms off in three days with the action around Naivasha from June 23rd to June 26th.
This is the second year that the Safari Rally is back in the WRC calendar after being reinstated since being dropped in 2003. As expected, rally enthusiasts from as far away as Uganda will flock the spectator stages to watch the rally cars zoom past.
On the entry list are about 12 Hybrid cars and spectators have now been warned to be careful not to come into close contact with the cars.
According to Norris Ongalo, the Chief Safety Officer of the WRC Safari rally, the top category R1 rally cars have a 740 volts battery hence could lead to possible electrocution when one touches it.
“50 volts is good enough to electrocute someone, what about 740? Possibilities of electrocution has been mitigated but there is a chance it can happen,” he said.
Spectators are cautioned against touching the cars when a red light is showing as they could be ‘too hot to handle’ but there is no danger when the car has a green light.
The safety expert assured the public that the chances of electrocution have been mitigated, but it is still necessary to take precaution.
Ongalo added that the hybrid batteries can also get hot exponentially and it could be difficult for the temperatures to be brought down.
“Should there be a fire as a result of a thermal runaway or the car burning, you will need two fire engines,” he warned.
The safety expert further said when the Hybrid cars catch fire or experience a thermal runaway, they start to emit toxic nitrate gases.
Rally organisers have also set safe points where spectators will be watching from, with marshals on the ground to give further instructions.