Junior World Rally Championship (WRC) competitor McRae Kimathi has been subject to racist abuse online in the leadup to his debut in Sweden, this weekend.
McRae Kimathi faces racism ahead of Swedish rally
Kimathi is the only black and African driver this season
Kimathi, son of Safari Rally Kenya CEO and Kenya Motor Sports Federation Chairman Phineas Kimathi, was targeted on social media following posts published by the Junior WRC on his pre-season tests.
Comments made by multiple users contained emojis used to convey racism towards black people.
The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) released a statement on Wednesday night condemning the actions of those perpetrating the discrimination.
“In the build-up to Rally Sweden, FIA Junior WRC competitor McRae Kimathi has been subjected to racial abuse on social media,” read the FIA statement.
FIA went on to state: “We condemn racist abuse and any form of discrimination towards our teams, competitors and fans and we will take all necessary steps to help ensure that any abuse is reported to the relevant authority.
We are working to build a more diverse and inclusive sport and abuse must be highlighted and eliminated. There is no place for it in our sport and in society,” the statement concluded.
Junior WRC championship manager Maciej Woda added: “Racism has no place in our sport or anywhere in the world. I was shocked, saddened and disgusted to see some of the comments we received on social media.
"Rallying is a sport that relies so much on embracing different cultures, communities and people from around the world. So far we are monitoring our social media channels closely and taking action on any racist comments or views that are directed to our competitors.
"I am full of admiration for what McRae and Mwangi are doing, putting themselves in a completely different and challenging environment. They are pushing themselves way beyond their comfort zone and should be applauded for what they are doing,” Woda said.
Kimathi is the only black and African driver registered for both Rally Sweden and the full Junior WRC campaign this year.
Sweden’s sub-zero temperatures and snow-plastered roads are a far cry from the baking heat and dusty rally tracks the 27-year-old is familiar with, but he’s up for the challenge.
Sweden marks Kimathi’s first start in Europe, which means experience and mileage will take priority from the get-go.