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Press Release : Friday, 18th November 2011


Safari fever was definitely in the air as the first road books for the Kenya Airways East African Safari Rally were handed out this afternoon. The crews now have a chance to peruse the official route for Day 1 (Sunday) and, although the individual competitive spirit is high, so too is the team spirit.
This year there are several formal and informal teams. The Race4Change team held their press conference in the reception of the Sarova Whitesands Hotel in Mombasa this afternoon. Philanthropist Dr Steven Funk has accrued an impressive group of drivers and co-drivers to promote the economic empowerment of women in Africa through microfinance. The drivers include Dr Funk himself, former World Rally Champion Björn Waldegård and former Kenyan rally champion Patrick Njuru who will be sharing a car with X-games and general motorsport hero Travis Pastrana. All three teams are in Porsche 911s prepared by Tuthill Porsche who this year are running nine cars in total. “We reckon it might actually be easier with nine than when we have run fewer cars in previous years,” commented a relaxed Richard Tuthill from the UK preparation specialists. Despite still wearing a cast on his ankle from his accident earlier this year, Pastrana was very enthusiastic about competing on the event. “I’m so excited to be here,” he said. “And for such a good cause. It’s awesome!” Waldegård was similarly effusive. “It is fantastic to return to Kenya for the Safari Classic and to be driving for this cause.” Race4Change are also partly supporting local favourites Ian Duncan and Amaar Slatch in a Ford Capri.
Amongst the other teams is the Kronos Vintage team with its four Porsche 911s as well as the Ford Escorts of the Viking Motorsport team. Another less formalised group is the Vodka Kick Team, which consists of Steve Perez, Geoff Bell and Andrew Siddall in their Datsun 260Zs. Otherwise known as the Gentleman’s World Rally Championship (GWRC) these three drivers have their own championship at historic events in exotic locations such as Barbados, Sweden, Mallorca and New Zealand. “I think I may be in the lead at the moment,” said Bell. “But it’s the Safari Classic that really counts.”
Unfortunately there are some crews who will not be at the official start tomorrow under the Tusks in Moi Avenue, Mombasa. The two South African VW Golfs crewed by sisters Lola and Megan Verlaque and by Steve Atwell and Eddie Verlaque (the girls’ father) were unfortunately not ready to compete in time. Meanwhile the Mercedes 450SLC of Gunther Kronseder and Gerd Petzold is stuck in the Seychelles due to shipping problems. The first ever Safari entry from the stables of the prancing horse will not be going ahead as the Ferrari Dino 308 GT4 of Marzio Kravos and Renzo Bernardi has suffered engine problems. However Kravos and Bernardi intend to compete in the Mercedes 450 SLC with which they have successfully completed the East African Safari Classic in previous years. More non-starters are the Mercedes 230 entry of Grant Stephenson and Andrew Mang’ula and the Datsun 260Z of Asad Anwar and Elodie Sampere.
At this moment, there should be 46 crews at the official start on Saturday afternoon at the Tusks in Moi Avenue and, with the reality of the first road book now in their hands, the general atmosphere of excitement is mounting. 


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