Liquid Telecom Kenya has launched a live tracking map for this year’s Safari Rally meaning rally enthusiasts can now follow the competition and individual drivers online.
The launch is the latest move by the company to upgrade Kenya’s motor rallies with cutting edge technology.
“Our roll out of GPO-based timing technology to move the rally to international standards meant we were able to track every vehicle throughout the race. It was a natural next step to create a map for everyone, and an app to follow, that allow motor rally fans to follow the rally across the entire course,” said Mr Paul Statham, Chief Commercial Officer of Liquid Telecom Kenya.
Liquid Telecom Kenya has so far invested millions of shillings in new technology for the Kenyan motor rally series, alongside its direct sponsorships of rally driver Ian Duncan, and of the women’s team Rally Chix. Its aim has been to upgrade Kenyan rallies to the international standards of safety and precision set by the International Motorsport Federation (FIA), and strengthen Kenya’s bid to be reinstated in the World Rallying Championship (WRC) by 2019.
The Safari Rally was first run as a WRC round in 1973, but was dropped from the world championships in 2002, and has since been run as a domestic Kenyan event. However, for nearly 30 years, it was one of the world championship’s most important rallies.
“The move to live tracking is the most advanced technology that we have yet added, putting the rally ahead of many other world championship rallies,” said Paul.
The technology has been used in several rallies in Northern Africa, in Tunisia and Morocco, while many rallies and cross-country rallies in Europe rely on the system, which is also used to support driver safety.
“The tracking map is powered by transponders in every driver’s car that send tracking signals to central units,” said Paul. “Our latest step was to commission and implement software for a rally course map that could be visible and transparent and available to every motor sports fans, as well as to the rally’s organisers, participating teams, and even the emergency services.”
The mapping will thus mean far speedier location and rescue of any driver that gets into trouble.
The live tracking displays every vehicle taking part in the rally with its rally number and offers a pop up window with information on the driver, co-driver, type of vehicle, GPS position and latest time stamp.
The map for the Safari Rally will go live at 8 am on 17th March, as the rally begins, and will run on the Liquid Motor Sports Kenya FaceBook Page and on Liquid Telecom’s Facebook account.
Public live tracking: http://safari-2017.abenteuerrallye.com/
Rally Replay: http://safari-2017.abenteuerrallye.com/replay.php
Liquid Telecom Kenya is also developing an app to allow fans to monitor future rallies from their phones.
The technology upgrades come as the Safari Rally also reports its highest number of foreign drivers for decades. In its now 65th edition, the Safari Rally has drawn 25 foreign drivers, from Zambia, Uganda and Tanzania, as well as more than 30 Kenyan entrants.
“It has been our intention from the outset of Liquid Telecom Kenya’s motor rally sponsorships to put the rallies back onto the international map,” said Paul.
As well as offering live tracking, the Safari Rally map offers a rally replay facility that enables direct comparisons of times between drivers, and replays of specific legs of the rally. Using multiple satellites at the same time, it shows the position of each car with an accuracy of +/- 2 metres.