The Safaricom-sponsored East African Safari Classic Rally will start from the Whitesands Hotel in Mombasa on Thursday with the first car being flagged off at 7am.
Top seed Baldev Chager is yet to win the East African Safari Classic Rally, though he has recorded victories in Nakuru’s Classic Rally. Chager will be driving one of the 15 Porsches in the entry list. He will be followed by Stiq Blomqvist, also in a Porsche.
Double winner of the marathon rally, Ian Duncan, is seeded number three in a Ford Vitesse which is making its rally debut.
There are six Kenyan crews in the rally, one Tanzanian, two Austrians, three British, two Italians, one German, two Swedish, one Omani, one German and one American. Porsche have the highest number of models with 15 cars followed by Nissan with three, one Rover and one Ford.
The competition will have a total of 24 stages both in Kenya and Tanzania as part of the route for the marathon rally. On any given day of the contest, crews will be expected to cover between 390-500km (combined distance of stage and transport). Tanzania will host two of the longest competitive stages. One is of 150kms while the other is 157kms.
The rally is set to cover more than 4,500 kilometers in both countries over nine days. The longest stage will be 160kms while the shortest will be 60kms. The rally consists of three competitive stages, and transport or liaison sections each day.
The total distance will be 4,500kms of which 1,700kms will be competitive distance. Apart from Safaricom, which will be the major sponsor of the competition, Bidco Africa and Vivo Energy have also joined as co-sponsors.
The final stage will be at the Mombasa Cement on December 6 where the first car will be due at 12 noon. The first car will be expected at the Whitesands Hotel as from 1:30pm onwards. The rally begins and ends in the coastal town of Mombasa, at Sarova Whitesands Hotel in Bamburi.
There are reports of isolated rains along the route but not of major concern though the organisers are prepared for any final changes during the event.
This year the rally will be traversing areas around Voi, Arusha and Tanga.