Press Release: Monday, 17th October 2011
The shop is closed !
The entry list for the 2011 Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally closed on Saturday evening with a confirmed entry of fifty-two cars.
Last minute entrants that just managed to beat the deadline were Asad Anwar and Elodie Sampere driving a Datsun 260Z and Quentin and Russell Savage in a Datsun 180B.
The organizers are now preparing the final starting order list and this will be published at a press conference in the New Stanley Hotel in Nairobi on Wednesday October 26th, 2011.
With barely one month left before the rally starts, both International and Kenyan rally teams are going through the final preparation phase. All the cars from overseas have now shipped and are on the high seas to Mombasa, Kenya where this epic motor rally will start on November 19th, 2011.
Current weather conditions in Kenya and Tanzania are threatening to recreate the wet Safari Rally of 1977, according to Event Director, Surinder Thatthi. During the final route survey, which is still continuing, it is reported that almost all the sections are in a very wet and muddy condition. Hopefully the rains will finish by the start of the event but if not, this could go down as the wettest Classic Safari yet. With the classic cars possessing only either front or rear wheel drive, the Safari could be a real test for man and machine if the rains persist.
The Kenya Airways East African Safari Rally is awash with legendary names with 1979 World Rally Champion and four-time winner of the Safari Rally Bjorn Waldegård topping the entry list in a Porsche 911. Another is 1984 FIA World champion Stig Blomqvist driving a Ford Escort RS1800 with Venezuelan, Ana Goni, in the navigator’s seat. Waldegård, a true legend among his peers, says he is looking forward towards the Safari with the same enthusiasm as in 1977. On that event, he went on to win, consolidating his lead through the soaking wet roads of the Kerio/Cherangani Hills section when he gradually drew away from his closest challenger, Rauno Aaltonen, one of the original Flying Finns, who was driving a Datsun 160J.
One of the other leading overseas drivers, Steve Perez, has already come this month to the Kenyan coast in order to test his Datsun 260Z in typical conditions. Perez has participated in the last two editions of the Classic Safari and is likely to be a strong contender for outright victory this year. On his first Kenya Airways Safari Classic in 2007 he finished fourth overall while on the most recent Classic Safari in 2009, he finished third overall also in his Datsun 260Z prepared in the UK by BTR Preparations.
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