Kenya Airways support for the East African Safari Classic Rally goes into another year following the official launch in Nairobi last week of the seventh edition of the KQ-sponsored event that has so far attracted entries from fifty-five crews from across the globe.
Speaking during the launch of the 2015 edition of the world famous marathon rally, Kenya Airways CEO Mr. Mbuvi Ngunze said the airline was once again proud to be associated with one of the biggest motor sport events that continues to promote trade, tourism and business opportunities between East Africa & and rest of the world.
“KQ East African Safari Classic Rally is not just a sporting activity but also serves to foster good relations between our country and the parent countries of international participants. More importantly, sports play a key economic role – they have continued to bring people into the country who come in as sports tourists. The sport, therefore, not only earns foreign exchange but also provides an opportunity to market East Africa as a tourist and investment destination”, said Ngunze.
Kenya Airways, which has invested Kshs 69 million (£435,000) in the Rally for the three editions in 2011, 2013 and now 2015, will consider extending the contract to further period when the time arises, according to Ngunze.
Also present at the function were Directors of the famous event Raju Kishinani and J.S Vohra. Kishinani is the principal shareholder of the East African Safari Rally Limited with J.S.Vohra of the Sarova Hotel organisation as the other shareholder. They are the main brains behind the continued success of the KQ-sponsored series, which this year will celebrate its seventh edition since the event was first run in 2003.
’’We are more than grateful and privileged to have Kenya Airways on board once again as our leading supporter of the nine-day rally that will visit both Kenya and Tanzania. Both parties have a major role to role to play in the sport which not only attracts world class rally drivers, but also large number of fans from across the world who are keen to visit us and see the beautiful country and wildlife,” said Vohra.
Vohra said he was also grateful to the other sponsors for coming on board. Apart from Kenya Airways, the organizers have the support of Kenya Wildlife Service, Access Kenya Group and Internet Solutions Company, Kabarnet Mineral Water, Vivo Energy Kenya (Shell) and Copy Cat respectively.
Aslam Khan and Marzio Kravos were also present at the Nairobi function as two of the leading drivers preparing to tackle the Safari Classic in a Porsche and Ferrari respectively. As well as being a well-known rally driver, Aslam Khan is also a former pilot with the airline.
The 2015 Kenya Airways East Safari Classic Rally is expected to live up to its reputation and generate an international flavour with some of the star names from World Rallying circles already enlisted for the marathon event.
Former World Rally Champion, Stig Blomqvist, the former World Group N Champion, Gregoire de Mevius, and Swede Richard Göransson, who is the past European Touring Car Champion and four times Swedish Touring Car Champion are some of the biggest names expected to grace the event. They will drive Porsche 911s specially prepared and serviced by Tuthill Porsche Team. Blomqvist was one of the biggest names to contest the Safari Rally prior to 2002 when it was part of the World Rally Championship.
”It is always great to have big names like Blomqvist and De Mevius in the rally since that has a big impact not only in Kenya but worldwide. We want to make the latest edition even more spectacular and friendly. Our team is fully engaged in making sure the rally lives up to its reputation,” said Kishinani.
The rally will traverse nearly 3,771 kilometres (2,320 miles) through some of the most picturesque regions of the East African community and will retrace many of the routes of the original Safari Rally as well showcase the diverse tourism offerings in the region.
This year’s competition will spend the first half of the rally on the Kenyan side of the border before the entourage moves into Tanzania for the next part of the action.
Day One (19 Nov) action will be centred on the Mombasa region, followed by days driving between Mombasa and Amboseli (20th Nov), Amboseli to Amboseli (21st Nov) and Amboseli to Lake Manyara (22 Nov) before taking a one-day rest at the Lake Manyara camp (23 Nov).
Day Six (24 Nov) action will see cars head for Arusha through some of the most fascinating sections of the rally. Day Seven (25 Nov) will see the competition based in the Arusha area in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro before the surviving crews head for Kenya and the Taita Hill Lodge for the final overnight rest halt (26th Nov). The rally arrives back near Mombasa at the Sarova Whitesands Hotel for the finish and prize giving gala dinner on Friday, November 27th.