Ian Duncan will be on the start line of the Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally on November 19th. The winner of the Safari Classic when it was last run in 2013, Duncan initially ran into difficulties when he entered for 2015 in the same Ford Capri Piranha V8 that he had driven in 2013.
A change in management at the Safari Classic Rally had brought a new approach, with strict adherence to Appendix K of the FIA that covers all internationally recognised events for classic cars. The South African-built Capri with its American V8 engine had never been internationally homologated and was thus not eligible for Safari. After protracted talks to try and resolve the problem, it was suggested that Duncan could run a car based on the Ford Capri RS3100 powered by the 3,098cc V6 Essex engine. The Safari organisers recently flew out their chief scrutineer, Geoff Doe, and Competitor Relations Officer, Tim Ashton, to liaise with Ian Duncan and see what could be done.
The result was a list of bodywork dispensations that were needed to make this idea viable. They were circulated to all the other competitors who were invited to dissent and given fourteen days in which to do so. With no adverse comments received, Duncan has a clear route to ensure that he will be on the start line in November. A new, triple carburettor engine is on its way from England to Kenya while Duncan and his crew pore over the Capri RS3100 homologation form, Appendix K and the list of dispensations. The final hurdle for the team will be when Geoff Doe and the scrutineering team inspects all vehicles entered, to ensure their compliance with rally regulations.
There is a good feeling that the reigning champion will be back on Safari. John Lloyd is both a competitor and one of Duncan’s sponsors and said: “I am delighted that this has been resolved and that Ian can take his rightful place in the entry list.” Richard Tuthill has a dozen Porsches entered, one of which was narrowly defeated by Duncan last time: “We’re glad to have him in the event. He’s the best rally driver in Africa and a great supporter of the Safari Classic.” A similar opinion was voiced by Phil Mills who also has a multi-car team in the Safari: “It’s good to see Ian in the event. It will take a lot of hard work to get his car into RS3100 specification. All the teams will be rooting for him to come with what we are certain will be a competitive rally car.”
The organisers have worked hard to seal this deal. Event Director, Raju Kishinani, said: “It is really great to have Ian in our rally. Of the six Safari Classic Rallies run so far, four have been won by East African drivers, so Ian’s entry is bound to keep alive the eternal question as to whether an overseas driver can beat the locals on East African roads.”