NAIROBI, Kenya, April 2 – Battle lines have been drawn for this year’s Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Safari Rally which starts on Friday afternoon.Drivers on Thursday took their vehicles through the scrutinizing process at the Kenyatta International Conference (KICC) where the rally will be flagged off by President Mwai Kibaki on Friday.
Turbo and transmission sealing began the order of the day as FIA technical delegate Viren Goricha took the cars through the gruelling scrutineering process.
Seventy two drivers will tackle one of the world’s toughest motorsport events which is also part of the KCB East African Rally Challenge.
The ARC class has attracted a total 46 drivers with 10 enlisted in the ARC class. The 2WD class will feature 14 drivers.
Defending champion Lee Rose will be making his first appearance this season after missing out on the KCB Biashara Banking Rally due to lack of a sponsor.
Rose who was last season’s championship runner’s up will start the rally in third place in Mitsubishi EVO 9 behind Zimbabwe’s James Whyte who is first and Muna Singh who is second.
Local drivers are resorting to Mitsubishi EVO 9 after Rose’s blistering pace that earned him his maiden Safari rally title.
Rose’s threat to the title is expected to come from last year’s national champion Baldev Chager who also missed the first rally, 2007 champion Carl Tundo and last year’s Kenya Motorsport Personality of the Year and former national champion Azar Anwar.
A special 0.9km spectator stage has been set up at Uhuru Park where rally fans will enjoy a close up view of the rally cars in full flight before the cars head back to the holding point at Railway Club and an overnight stay at KICC.
Saturday morning will see the crews tackle a liaison distance through Lake Elemantaita lodge which will also host the service park and the day’s spectator stage on the lake’s shores