With just a few weeks left before next month’s KCB Safari Rally 2011 takes off, things have been moving at a considerable pace.
Early bird entries into the world’s most extreme motor sport event closed on Monday May 16 what with a satisfactory list of 48 drivers.
Issuing of Road Books, Maps & Service Guides will be on Friday 10th June 2011 – for local crews at rally secretariat and Tuesday 14th June 2011 –for foreign crews at rally secretariat. Entries opened on April 26 and are expected to close on Friday 3rd June 2011.
As the clock ticks towards “The True African Experience”, a number of big-name African Rally Championship contenders, regional entrants and the ‘homeboys’ have already signed up to take on the remote gravel rally in Athi River and Kajiado from 17 to 19 June 2011.
These include present FIA African Champion Jamie Whyte from Zimbabwe, Rwandese Giancarlo Davite, Ugandan Jas Mangat, the crowd-pleasing ‘Moto Moto’ Datsun Debe pick up of Kenyan Peter Horsey and his brother Alex- who will become the first ever competitor to drive a Mitsubishi Evo X in the Safari.
The foreign drivers will join an elite group of Kenyans speedsters who have the strength and mental stamina to take on the three grueling days of endurance driving and tackling a route course synonymous with the now-defunct World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally.
These include the current KQ East African Safari Classic winner Ian Duncan (Evo9) who won the WRC Safari series edition in 1994, three times former Kenya Champion Azar Anwar and defending KNRC Champion Alastair Cavenagh. Alex who put in a fine drive on the recent KCB SME Rally in Eldoret to record a career best third overall on the debut of his Mitsubishi Evo X (nicknamed Pesi Pesi) the first time one of these cars has rallied on Kenyan soil, has dared the ‘big bulls’ for a podium dash in the KCB Safari Rally.
“It feels strange to be almost disappointed with third overall but we did come here to learn the car so a podium position is actually fantastic. We’ve proved how competitive the car is this weekend with two fastest stage times but there is still a lot more to come from me in terms of how I drive it,” said Alex who has vowed to fight for a podium in the Safari.
Event Director Dali Kalsi said the secretariat at Kenya Motor Sports Foundation (KMSF) is excited with the ‘early bird’ entry as well as the progress made so far. “Things are moving at a remarkable pace,” said Kalsi who doubles up as the Clerk of the Course.
The KCB Classic Car Cup class has attracted two entries in Stefano Roca (Datsun 240 Z) and Aslam Khan (Ford Escort). Englishman Simon Tysoe is yet to place his entry.
Former two times Formula Two champion Jamseet Chana and his partner George Njoroge will be racing their Toyota Celica GT4 keen to accomplish two benchmarks. They are leading the newly introduced Group S class besides being strong contenders in the KNRC Division Two title currently led by Onkar Rai.
“Motorsport has been a lifelong passion for me and I’m determined to build on the success of the Safari to date, “said Jasmeet.
The event co-sponsored by Car Track, Identisys, ALS, iWay Africa, Keringet and Pelican has a total rally distance of 530km and a competitive mileage totaling 200km.
The Safari Rally has lots at stake. It counts towards the 2011 FIA African Rally Championship for Drivers and Co-Drivers, the 2011 FIA ARC Cup for Manufacturers, the 2011 Kenya National Rally Drivers and Co-Drivers Championship, the 2WD Championship and KNRC Classic Car Cup.
The rally will be run in compliance with the International Sporting Code (and its appendices), the 2011 FIA Regional Rally Championship Sporting Regulations applicable to all FIA Rally Championships, and the provisions of the National Competition Rules that comply with the FIA Regulations and these Supplementary Regulations.