NAIROBI, Kenya, October 23- Former World Rally champions, Bjorn Waldergard and Stig Blomqvist will lead the 52 entries confirmed for this year’s Kenya Airways East Africa Safari Classic.
The event that runs from November 19 to 28 will also feature top local aces led by recently crowned Kenya National Rally Championship winner, Ian Duncan and the man he succeeded, Alistair Cavenagh.
Event organiser and world governing body FIA Africa Representative, Surinder Thatthi confirmed the entries on Wednesday saying, “Hopefully the rains will finish by the start of and if not, this could go down as the wettest Classic Safari ever.
“With the cars on either front or rear wheel traction, the Safari could be a real test for man and machine if the current rains persist.”
Waldergard, who won four editions of the iconic Safari Rally in his prime will feature in his Porsche 911 with namesake Mathias navigating at the event where Duncan, who sew up the KNRC top honours with a third finish at the KCB Guru Nanak Rally is on pole.
The Kenyan 1994 Safari Rally winner will drive a Ford Capri with the man whom he stormed to the national title, Amaar Slatch, reading the notes.
Former Safari Classic winner, Frenchman Gerard Marcy co-driven by Stephane Prevelot and compatriot team of Gregoire de Mevius/Alain Guehennec in Porsche 911s will be next off the ramp.
The Swiss maestros, Waldergard and Bromlqvist, the latter navigated by Staffan Parmander in a Ford Escort Mark will zoom off in positions four and five with Cavenagh, who tested his similar machine at the Guru Nanak rally seeded eighth.
In a tale of KNRC champions, Cavenagh will be navigated by the 2009 domestic rally titleholder, Carl Tundo.
Sponsors Kenya Airways announced an extension of their sponsorship for the event that stands at $200,000 (Sh20m) per event by three years.
“We will work very closely with Surinder and his team to make sure that the rally grows in international coverage and participation,” the firm’s Area Manager, Nita Naggi said Wednesday.
Competitors will tackle famous classic rally sections covering approximately 4,300km where 1,900km will be competitive stages. The rally will run in Tanzania in two of the four days it will run before it finishes at the Bamburi Beach Hotel in Mombasa.
There will be no night stages and the distance covered each day of the event will vary from 450 to 700km in the model of the renowned traditional Safari Rally that was discontinued in the World Rally Championships in 2004.
– By Gloria Kendi