Press Release: Thursday, 11th August 2011
Look out for the Ladies !
An all-Kenyan female rally team of Samira Khan, 32, and Safina Khan (not related) are to become only the second all-ladies crew to enter and compete in the Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally. They are also the only ladies crew to enter the 2011 Safari Classic that will start in Mombasa on Saturday, November 19th under the impressive Mombasa Tusks on Moi Avenue.
Samira is a pilot with Kenya Airways who flies a Boeing 767 and is set to sample a rally cockpit that will be a far cry from the airplane cockpit she inhabits on a daily basis. Safina, who co-drove for Michelle Van Tongeren in the Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) some years ago, is preparing to dust-off the cobwebs in a comeback from a long sabbatical. The two ladies will drive a Ford Escort Mk1 previously used by former Air Force pilot and 2008 KCB Classic Car Cup Champion, Aslam Khan.
A full ladies team is something that the Safari Classic has not had since the legendary Michèle Mouton came to Kenya with Ana Goni in the first Safari Classic in 2003. Being the only ladies team in this year’s event, the two have already been dubbed ‘The Rally Queens’ and they will without a doubt delight local and foreign rally fans alike. Since they are a Kenyan girls’ team, it is also their sincere hope that the ‘Rally Queens’ are destined to encourage local East African female youth to take up the sport.
The pair are further motivated by being able to drive in the same event as celebrated rally champions such as Bjorn Waldegård, Ian Duncan, Geoff Bell, Gregoire de Mevius, Alastair Cavenagh and Stig Blomqvist amongst many others.
Samira’s flying career started in 1998 when she acquired her Commercial Flying License at 43 Air School in South Africa. She then came back to Kenya and worked from the Wilson Airport Nairobi for the first five years of her flying career at ALS Ltd and Air Kenya Ltd respectively. Her experience in general aviation has been extensive and varied from transporting tourists to game reserves in East Africa to flying relief contracts for the United Nations and the Red Cross in Sudan, Somalia, Congo and Iraq.
Samira’s airline career started in 2003 with Regional Air and she moved to Kenya Airways in 2005 where she currently flies as a First Officer on Boeing 767s. She made her rallying debut in the Kenya National Rally Championship on the Kajiado rally of September 2008 as co-driver to her uncle Aslam Khan. She continued to navigate him in the first half of the 2009 rally calendar and enjoyed it thoroughly. Samira has been inspired ever since to become a rally driver and create an all girls rally team. The opportunity has finally presented itself to her this month when the ALS Rally Team offered to sponsor Samira by providing her with a rally car for the Safari Classic.
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