NAIROBI, Kenya, November 11- Kenya Airways has extended its sponsorship deal with the East African Safari Classic Rally for the next three editions.
The long term partnership was announced on Thursday during the official launch of the rally at the airline’s headquarters in Embakasi.
KQ chief executive Titus Naikuni said his company was pleased to be associated with the management of the Rally which has proved itself as one of the most recognized events in motorsport.
He said Kenya Airways will spend Sh16m to support the 2011 edition of the series while the figure may increase by the time the event reaches 2013 and 2015 respectively.
“It has been a great relationship with Kenya Airways for the past many events. Sealing a deal for the next three years, means we can lot together in terms of promoting Kenya through KQ and our great rally,’’ said event director Surinder Thatthi.
Regarded as one of the world’s toughest marathon rallies, the race is expected to attract some of the leading rally drivers from across the globe from as far as Sweden, England, France and America among other countries.
Bjorn Waldegaard is expected to lead the European contingent while the local challenge will be spear-headed by Ian Duncan.
Kenyans have proved superiority in three out of the past four editions of the race with victories.
Kirkland won twice in a Datsun 260Z while Duncan gave Ford Mustang a historic first ever victory in any sort of competition worldwide.
The rally is open to cars of the pre-1978 models such as the Peugeot 504s, Datsuns, Porsches and Ford Escorts among others.
The format of the rally will be four days of competition with rest halt in the famous Amboseli National Park in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. This will be followed by another four days of competition before the cars head for the finish on the sandy beaches north of Mombasa.