The 1984 world rally champion, Stig Blomqvist, will be the first off the ramp on November 23rd, when the 2017 Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally starts at Sarova Whitesands in Mombasa. The defending Safari champion has been placed top of the 2017 seeded start order.
Carl “Flash” Tundo, son of veteran Kenyan driver and fellow Safari Classic competitor, Frank Tundo, is seeded second on the list, which has Baldev Singh Chager setting off third and two-time Safari Classic champion, Ian Duncan, placed fourth.
Geoff Bellfrom South Africa, is seeded fifth in his Datsun 260Z, navigated by Kenya’s Tim Challen. Bell is followed by Argentina’s Jorge Perez Companc in his Ford Escort RS 1800, Briton Richard Jackson in a Tuthill 911 and the man who many regard as the dark horse of this year’s event: Frenchman Philippe Gache in his Group B Mazda RX7.
Kenya’s star driver, Raaji Singh Bharij, will team up with Rajay Sehmi in ninth. The duo are competing in a Kenyan-built Porsche 911. Onkar Singh Rai is seeded 10th, alongside Gareth Dawe, who is also his navigator in the Kenyan National Rally Championship (KNRC).
The full list of sponsors was also confirmed at the entry list launch event. General Manager, Pipi Renu, thanked Kenya Airways and the full list of co-sponsors for their unswerving support.
“We are delighted to welcome Kenya Airways and all of our sponsors back for another unforgettable Safari Classic Rally,” said Pipi. “Not only do our sponsors assist us in hosting this world-class event, the quality of their employees and support teams greatly extend our ability to spread the positive message of Safari and ensure smooth progress through East Africa.”
“The Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally demonstrates the possibilities of trade, tourism and bringing people together within East Africa and beyond,” said Jacquie Muhati, Head of Marketing for Kenya Airways. “The East African Safari Classic Rally gives all of us the opportunity to showcase our country as a tourist destination, as it attracts substantial local and international media interest. The rally is an unparalleled conduit for our core businesses of ensuring a sustainable development growth in Kenya and Africa, and connecting Africa to the world.”
The national airline of Kenya has sponsored six previous editions of the Safari Classic Rally. Their support is enhanced in 2017 by the arrival of Safaricom as the Safari Classic’s official communication partner, providing an incredible KSh 15 Million in support, with an additional Sh 2 million worth of connectivity and airtime worth for the officials and rally crews.
Internet Solutions were also acknowledged for their unswerving support as the Official Internet and Data Transmission Partners. Kenya Wildlife Service is back for the umpteenth time and will assist in the cooperation and planning of all logistics at Amboseli Park. Dodhia Packaging Kenya Limited will facilitate packaging equipment, while Copy Cat Group will be providing identity badges as well as photocopying services. Copy Cat has been supporting the Safari Classic since its earliest days.
Vipingo Ridge joins the list of sponsors for 2017. The luxury lifestyle resort will host the event’s shakedown on the north coast, serving as a really fun day for spectators. Kenya Motor Sports Federation and Automobile Association of Tanzania are also in the mix, as the respective motorsport governing bodies of Kenya and Tanzania.
The 2017 Safari Classic will be flagged off at Sarova Whitesands on November 23rd and finish at the same venue on December 1st. See the full seeded entry list here.