A Change at the Top: Duncan picks new co-driver

Andrew Doig replaces Amaar Slatch as Ian Duncan’s co-driver in the Ford Capri 3100 at start number one for the Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally that will start from Mombasa on November 19th. Despite having won the bi-annual Safari twice with Duncan – in 2009 with a Ford Mustang V8 and most recently in 2011 with a V8 Ford Capri – Amaar Slatch has commitments to his business and simply cannot afford the time away from work to compete in the ten-day rally.

Andrew’s father, David Doig, was a two-time winner of the Safari Rally, in 1974 and 1976 as navigator to the legendary Joginder Singh in Mitsubishi Colts. Andrew Doig’s own rallying career started in 1996 when he drove a Land Rover 110 but he moved to the co-driver’s seat to accompany Ian Duncan in a Subaru Impreza in 2000. He later co-drove with Alex Horsey and Onkar Rai, winning various classes in Kenyan rallying. He competed on the last two Safari Classics in Porsches, first with Stephen Funk in 2011 when they finished sixth in a very wet event, and then with Steve Troman in 2013 when they recovered to finish twenty-second after the trauma of rolling the car on the very first day of the rally.

New co-driver for Blomqvist

It had also been confirmed that the Porsche 911 that will start at number three, the Race4Change car driven by ex-World Rally Champion, Stig Blomqvist, will be co-driven by Stéphane Prévot. The two have never rallied together before but both have extensive experience in major rallies, particularly the World Rally Championship. Prévot started doing major events in 1991 with Bruno Thiry and has subsequently accompanied François Duval, Chris Atkinson, Alister McRae and, most recently, Stéphane Lefèbvre, his current WRC driver. He has competed on the Safari Classic twice with fellow Belgian, Gérard Marcy in a Porsche 911 and on both occasions – 2009 and 2011 – they finished fourth overall. Prévot is currently competing on the WRC Wales Rally GB with Lefèvbre in a Citroën DS3 WRC and will fly out to Kenya as soon as possible after the rally finishes on Sunday. On Friday lunchtime, they were lying tenth overall.

Fabrizia Pons returns to Safari

While it is natural for media focus to be on the top-seeded crews, a scan further down the entry list of the Safari Classic reveals entries of note other than those that have already featured in releases. For instance, one of the more famous names from the Group B era is to be found in a Tuthill Porsche at number thirty-two. The co-driver for Gilberto Sandretto is none other than Fabrizia Pons who, during the 1980s accompanied Michèle Mouton in an onslaught on the WRC that netted them four outright wins in a works Audi Quattro and very nearly won them the 1982 World Championship Drivers title. Fabrizia has been doing many classic rallies in the last few years and has been out to the Safari Classic on several occasions, competing in a Tuthill Porsche in the floods of 2011 and helping to co-ordinate the Tuthill service effort in 2013.

Rhino Conservation Fundraising Initiative

And right towards the end of the entry list at number fifty-two are two gentlemen who are multiple Kenyan champions but in Rallye-Raid vehicles rather than ‘normal’ rally cars. They are Nish Lakhani and Teeku Patel who have stepped out of their V8-powered Land Rover to sit in the much more modest surroundings of a classic Datsun 1600SSS otherwise known as the Datsun PA510. This type of car was very successful in Safari Rallies of the 1970s, winning the rally outright in 1970 and posting consistent results in the years that followed. The association has a particular significance for Nish as a 1600SS was the last model of car that his father rallied. Their entry has another significance in that they are using their participation to raise money to help rhinos in East Africa. The cash generated by Nish and Teeku (Team SSS) will go toward anti-poaching efforts on Ol Pejeta – the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa. Anyone wishing to contribute should go to www.olpejetaconservancy.org/rally4rhinos/