The first Audi to win the original WRC Safari Rally and Audi’s final world championship rally car is returning to Kenya with winning driver, Hannu Mikkola, for the eighth edition of the Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally.
A special guest of Safari this year is the works Audi 200 Quattro that claimed the top two steps of the podium in 1987, when Walter Röhrl and Christian Geistdörfer took second place behind team mates Mikkola and co-driver, Arne Hertz.
“We are delighted to welcome the Audi Motorsport team back to Kenya, to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of a memorable Safari victory,” smiled Safari Classic Rally director, Raju Kishinani. “It is also an honour to celebrate the return of Hannu Mikkola.
“As the first international driver to win a Safari Rally (in 1972), Hannu paved the way for so many unforgettable Safari battles, where a plethora of great manufacturers and budding world champions pushed glorious machines to the limit against experienced local heroes in the garden of Africa. A Safari win became the most coveted title in rallying and built an incredible legacy. The Safari Classic Rally rekindles that unique spirit every two years.”
Rally manager, Pipi Renu, extended the warm hand of welcome in Swahili. “Karibu (welcome) to Audi on its return to Kenya for the thirtieth anniversary of the legendary Quattro’s only win through the African bush. Karibu also to Hannu: Safari champion from 1972, world champion from 1983 and a pivotal figure in rallying history.
“Every Safari Rally was a fierce test of man and machine against nature and world-class competition, in some of the most incredible rally cars ever constructed. 1987 was no exception. Battling Blomqvist in a works Ford Sierra Cosworth, Waldegård in a works Toyota Supra, a four-car works Subaru team and countless local experts in rally cars specifically built for Safari, Mikkola and Hertz needed all their talent to emerge victorious.
“As ever with Safari, the cream rose to the top. The 200 Quattro took first and second positions and Audi finally had a Safari win to its credit. The story is well worth remembering, so we are delighted to help Audi to commemorate this golden moment in its motorsport history.”
The Audi 200 Quattro will take part in the official pre-rally event programme, on static display in Sarova Whitesands and also running on the shakedown event at Vipingo Ridge. Following the rally start on November 23, the Quattro will accompany the event to its first overnight stop: Amboseli National Park, in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro.
See the top of our website for links to the event’s social media channels. The official itinerary will be unveiled here and via social media just before the rally gets started.
Images courtesy of Audi and McKlein Photography