2013 Safari Entries: a Roaring Start

With just twelve months to go before the start of the 2013 Kenya Airways Safari Classic Rally, the entry list is filling up fast. It is not just quantity – there are twenty-six entries already – but also the quality of both cars and crews that will be bound to ensure an excellent and competitive event next November.

Race4Health by Team Tidö

Of the entries so far received, by far the most exciting news is of a Swedish team that have entered six Porsche 911s with ex-World Rally Champions, Björn Waldegård and Stig Blomqvist as lead drivers. The project was officially launched at a dinner in Stockholm on November 21st, exactly one year before the start of the 2013 KQ Safari Classic. The dinner was organised by David von Schinkel, the principal of Team Tidö, who is the mastermind behind this wonderful challenge whose aim is to raise funds for African charities.

A wide range of personalities attended the dinner from Sweden with some key attendees from other European countries. During the course of the evening many of the partners in this project were introduced to the gathering, all with the common aim of kick starting what will be a fantastic fund-raising charity that will culminate in an attempt to win the rally outright. No less than 1.6 million Swedish kroner (£150,600.00) were raised at the dinner, one of the largest sums ever raised for charity by motor sport in Sweden. It was then presented to the founder of ‘Riders for Health’. This is the main charity partner for the new Swedish team who call themselves ‘Race4Health by Team Tidö’.

Some members of the motorcycle racing community including Randy Mamola started Riders for Health in the late 1980s. Their aim was to refurbish and provide reliable transport used by health professionals and volunteers in African countries. For example, the funds raised in Stockholm will for one year enable 80 health workers to reach over 640,000 people who would have previously been unable to have medical care. It will provide the running costs of 12 ambulances for a year, or buy 50 new motorcycles, or eight new large four-wheel drive vehicles. Full details of Riders for Health can be found on their web site at www.riders.org.

The six Porsche 911s to be used will be prepared and run by Tuthill Porsche and Richard Tuthill was present at the dinner in Stockholm to underline his firm’s commitment to this six-car entry. As well as having Björn Waldegård – a four time winner of the original Safari Rally and twice a winner of the Safari Classic – and Stig Blomqvist – seven times a winner of the Swedish Rally and World Rally Champion in 1984 – the team nominated three of the remaining drivers at the dinner. They will be Roger Samuelsson, Christer Johansson and David von Schinkel. Team Tidö will announce the final driver at a later date as well as details of more partners in Race4Health.

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And more variety …

There are a further nine Porsche 911s entered of which six come from Belgium and three of those are entered by Kronos Vintage for Jean-Pierre Mondron, Stephan Meyers and Gérard Brianti. Also from Belgium in a Porsche 911 is that stalwart of the Safari Classic – and Paris-Dakar – Gérard Marcy while local hopes for success in a Stuttgart car will ride with Aslam Khan in the Porsche 911 that made its debut with him on the 2011 Safari Classic.

Datsun are already strongly represented by a brace of 260Zs entered by Kick Energy and driven by Steve Perez and Geoff Bell, both of whom have distinguished themselves in the last three Safari Classics. Viking Motorsport are back with their team of Escort RSs run by Phil Mills with John Lloyd and Jorge Perez Companc listed as drivers. And Ford has another good chance for outright victory with the winner from the 2009 Safari Classic, Ian Duncan from Nairobi, back in a Ford Capri.

One thing worth noting is that, for the 2013 KQ Safari Classic, the cut-off date for the eligibility of the cars has been moved to December 31st, 1978. This now permits a few more car models to be eligible like the Datsun PA10, Porsche 928 and the Fiat 131 Abarth amongst others.