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Long stages as Safari seeks past shine

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TUNDO-EVO-9NAIROBI, Kenya, July 4 – In a bid to evoke memories of its past glory, drivers in this weekend’s KCB Safari Rally will tackle some of longest competitive stages ever laid for a domestic event.

The 84km Il-Bissel/Parane section in particular has been singled out by organisers as a car breaker during the two-day showdown to be held around, Kajiado, Konza and Isinya that starts on Saturday.

Clerk of Course Roy McKenzie said its and an all inclusive rally for both the crew and spectators.

The shortest distance will be the 2.22km Spectator Section at Nairobi’s Jamhuri Park.

“It is basically a treat for the spectators who will enjoy high speed action and a thrill for the drivers with many more features that will be a delight to watch at the special spectator stage at Jamhuri Park on Friday said McKenzie.”

The total rally distance will see drivers covering more than 640km made up of 311.64km competitive and 330.21km transport.

Carl Tundo, who is the defending Safari Rally and national champion, will be attempting to emulate legendary Shekhar Mehta’s five victories which remains a benchmark in the event that was previously a round of the World Rally Championship.

The foreign legion has already started streaming in with top drivers chasing elusive Africa Rally Championship (ARC) points in one of the fifth round of the continental event.

Rwanda national rally champion Giancarlo Davite is eager to make amends and regain top spot in the ARC.

Davite dropped to third after crashing out of the Tanzania Puma Rally last month. He is on 33, 15 points the leader Jassy Singh from Zambia and seven behind second placed Ugandan Jas Mangat.

Mangat who arrived on Tuesday says he is not going flat-out as he is keen to safe-guard his ARC rankings after winning in Tanzania.

Jassy is attempting to emulate his father Muna Singh who is a former two-time continental champion.

South Africa’s Geof Bell is driving in the supplementary class in his trusted Datsun 240Z which he is using to prepare for this year’s East Africa Classic Safari Rally in November.

Kenya only has two registered teams in the ARC series in Don Smith/Bob Kaugi (Subaru N14) and Jaspreet Chatthe/Gurdeep Panesar (Evo9).

The Pearl of Africa Rally in Uganda in August is the next ARC event with the Mountain Gorilla Rwanda Rally wrapping up the continental event in November.

After a ceremonial start on Friday, action proper will kick-off on Saturday with a re-start from KICC at 6am from where cars will proceed to Kajiado.

The second leg will run around Konza with a ceremonial finish set for 3:30pm Sunday at KICC.

Spectator stages for both days will be designated around Andy’s Corner in Kajiado where the ‘Park & Walk’ policy will be in force as rally organisers attempt to control use of private cars near and around dangerous competitive sections and to avoid drunk driving.

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