PRESS RELEASE NO 8
World Champion on Safari Classic
It is now confirmed that the second entry for Viking Motorsport on the
Kenya Airways Safari Classic Rally with be a Ford Escort RS1800 driven by
1984 World Rally Champion, Stig Blomqvist. His co-driver will be Ana Goni
from Venezuela who accompanied him in Skodas, Mitsubishis and Subarus from
2000 to 2006. They were third in the World Production Car Championship in
2003. They also drove together on the Safari Classic Rallies of 2005 and
2007 in a Ford Escort RS1600 when they finished second and sixth overall
Viking Motorsport is a relatively new preparation company run by Phil
Mills, a World Rally Champion in his own right as he was co-driver to
Petter Solberg for many years and they won the World title together in
2003. Viking have a two-car team of RS1800s for the Safari Classic. The
experienced John Lloyd with Adrian Cavenagh as his co-driver drives the
other car. Both have considerable East African rally experience and have
competed previously on the Safari Classic in Escorts and Datsuns.
The appearance of Escort RS1800s – they use the Mk 2 bodyshell introduced
by Ford in 1975 – marks their first showing on the Safari Classic which
this year has shifted its eligibility date to the end of 1975. In 2007,
Björn Waldegård, a former World Rally Champion won the Safari Classic
driving an RS1600 but it was at the wheel of an RS1800 that he won his
World title back in 1979 and won the original Safari Rally in 1977.
The current news from the rally organisers is that the seasonal rains have
been heavier than normal and are playing havoc with the dirt roads in
Kenya and Tanzania that form the backbone of the Safari Classic route.
Indeed the conditions are such that it is impossible at the moment to
complete the final route survey. By the time the rally arrives in
November, things will have dried out but the heavy rain is likely to make
the route rougher than before.
One thing is for certain and that is that the Kenya Airways Safari Classic
Rally for 2011 will need all the skill and experience of a World Champion