The FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) held an award ceremony to celebrate motorsport champions and title winners from 2023. The event gathered successful drivers and co-drivers from regional and international competitions in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan to receive their awards.
Among the champions recognized at this grand ceremony were Kenya’s rally stars, Karan Patel and Tauseef Khan, hailed for their triumphant conquest of the 2023 Africa Rally Championship Series.
FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem said, “Every FIA champion and title winner deserves their moment of recognition, and I am pleased that we have dedicated a day of celebration to the winners of many of our competitions that happen all around the world. I enjoy watching circuit competitions, but it was in rallying where it all started for me. Motor sport is a passionate and diverse community, and it is important for us to come together once the rivalries are settled to enjoy this day together. My congratulations go to all the men and women who have collected a trophy here today.”
Standing proudly amidst the best rally crews of the year, Patel and Khan basked in the glory of their achievements. Expressing his elation, Karan Patel remarked, “When it comes to rallying, finishing is never guaranteed. So we had to finish in the top three going into the last round. It was not easy, and I prayed that the car would hold. Thankfully, things went according to plan. I guess this is not the last time I will be here,” eliciting thunderous applause from the audience.
The duo not only represented Kenya’s motorsports but also Africa at large, with Kenya once again being part of the 2024 global motorsports calendar thanks to the WRC Safari Rally and the Toyota Gazoo Racing team as the current Safari champions.
The Kenya Motor Sports Federation (KMSF) chairman President, Maina Muturi was also in attendance.
The duo was awarded in the same ceremony that saw Red Bull F1 driver, Max Verstappen receive the FIA Formula One World Championship for Drivers. This is the third time in his career that Max is receiving the award following a season that saw him win 19 wins across 22 races this season.
The Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner received the Constructors’ trophy in the event.
Toyota Gazoo racing team received trophies for drivers, co-drivers, and manufacturers’ titles in FIA World Rally Championship. FIA World Endurance Championship and FIA World Rally-Raid Championship.
In exciting news, the motorsport champions and title winners for next year will gather close to home. The FIA awarded the city of Kigali in Rwanda rights to host the 2024 congress offering an exciting prospect for 2024.