Austria’s Rosenberger seals Classic Rally victory

Friday December 06 2019

Austria's Kris Rosenberger and his navigator, Nicola Bleicher celebrate winning the 2019 East Africa Safari Classic Rally in a Porsche 911 in Mombasa on December 6, 2019. The duo won the long distance rally in a time of 13.04.1 PHOTO | ANWAR SIDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Austria’s Kris Rosenberger navigated by Nicola Bleicher drove consistently to record their first victory in the Safaricom East African Safari Classic Rally driving a Porsche 911.

The Austrians, who led the race briefly in the beginning before lying a close second for most of the competition, beat former winner of the Classic Rally Stiq Blomqvist by 01mins:33.6secs at the end of the 10-day rugged competition.

Rosenberger was excited after emerging victorious in one of the toughest events in the world.

"The East African Safari Classic Rally is one of the toughest events in the world and for me to win it is a great feeling. We had decided to stay behind Blomqvist and gather pace towards the end. It paid off, and we beat one of the best drivers in the world," said Rosenberger.

Bleicher becomes the first ever female navigator to win the East African Safari Classic Rally, celebrating its ninth edition since the marathon event was introduced in 2001. Rosenberger was last in Kenya 20 years ago when he finished eighth overall in the Safari Rally driving a VW Golf.

Former world rally star Blomqvist managed a commendable second overall in a Porsche 911 with the help of experienced navigator Jorgen Fornander.


The 73-year-old Swede last won the East African Safari Classic Rally in 2015 driving a Porsche 911 during the peak of his life. Blomqvist who began his rallying career at the age of 18, drove Group B cars and helped develop the Skoda Felica Kit car.

Kenya’s Onkar Rai was a brilliant third, after leading one stage in Tanzania in the Safaricom-sponsored rally. The Meru Rally winner drove a Porsche 911.

Rai was the best-placed local driver among the five Kenyans out of the 16 survivors of the rally. Tejveer Rai also finished in the top 10 while Aslam Khan (11th), Baldev Chager (14th) and Ian Duncan (16th) finished in that order outside the top 10 ranking. The Kenyan crews suffered various mechanical problems.


1. Kris Rosenberger (AUT)/Nicola Bleicher (DEU) Porsche

2. Stig Blomqvist (SWE)/Jorgen Fornander (SWE) Porsche

3.Onkar Singh Rai (KEN)/Drew Sturrock (GBR) Porsche

4.Philip Kadoorie (HKG)/Ryan Champion (GBR) Porsche

5. Roger Samuelsson (SWE)/Robin Friberg (SWE) Porsche

6. Trey Lockey (USA)/Julia Svensson (SWE) Porsche

7. Eugenio Amos (ITA)/Roberto Mometti (ITA) Porsche

8. Tejveer Singh Rai (KEN)/Gavin Laurence (KEN) Porsche

9. Osian Pryce (WAL)/Dale Furniss (WAL) Ford Escort

10. Scott Armstrong (GBR)/Harpal Singh Sudle (GBR)

11. Aslam Khan (KEN)/Imran Khan (KEN) Porsche

12. Joe Hayes (USA)/Kate Hayes (USA) Porsche

13. Bernhard Kessel (DEU)/Ronny Kessel (DEU)

14. Baldev Chager/Ravi Soni (KEN) Porsche

15. Renee Brinkerhoff (USA)/Juliette Brinkerhoff(USA) Porsche

16. Ian Duncan (KEN)/Anthony Nielsen (KEN) Rover Vitesse