Former Africa champion Jaspreet Chatthe is seeded top in this weekend’s Safari Rally which rolls off from the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) ramp on Friday morning.
Chatthe’s Mitsubishi Lancer is among the 36 cars that have entered the second round of the African Rally Championship after Cote d’Ivoire’s Bandama Rally that was won by home driver Gary Charles.
Uganda’s Jas Mangat is the best placed foreign driver in seventh place in yet another Mitsubishi Evolution 10.
Onkar Rai, winner of the first round of the Kenya National Rally Championship in Nakuru last month, is seeded at number two while Baldev Chager is at number three.
The total distance for the Safari Rally will be 581 kilometres long out of which 221 will be timed competitive distance.
The rally will offer the perfect ingredients of a World Rally Championships (WRC) event — smooth, demanding gravel roads — according to the chairman of the organizing committee Phineas Kimathi.
The rains, however, yesterday forced the organisers to replace the 12-kilometre Abedares stage with the 31-kilometre Kedong stage which will now be run twice.
From KICC, the cars will head to the Sopa Lodge in Naivasha, a 94-kilometre stretch from Nairobi, for service followed by the first competitive stage at Kedong.
Sopa Lodge will also serve as the rally headquarters.
WRC SAFARI PROJECT
The total distance covered on day one will be 156 kilometres including liaison sections.
Day two start on Saturday at 7am when cars head to Soysambu Ranch for the first stage of the day followed by the Sleeping Warrior and Kedong II stages.
This route concept has been designed in conformity with modern day WRC format, said Kimathi, who is also the chief executive officer of the government-funded WRC Safari Project established to bid to return the Safari to the WRC series by 2020.
The final day of the rally will be another 31-kilometre long Kedong section with the finish at Sopa Lodge by midday.
This route concept has been designed in conformity with modern day WRC format unlike the Safari of the yore.
Kimathi explained that besides the route, the organizers will run every aspect of the Safari like a WRC rally as the first step of running a Candidate next year.
The official start List:
1. 7 Jaspreet Chatthe/James Morgan (Mitsubishi Evolution 10 RC2-R4
2. 6 Onkar Rai/Gareth Dawe (Skoda Fabia R5 RC2-R50
3. 5 Baldev Chagar/Ravi Soni (Mitsubishi Evolution 10 RC2-R4)
4. 4 Manvir Baryan/Drew Sturrock (Skoda Fabia R5 RC2-R5)
5. 3 Carl Tundo/Tim Jessop (Mitsubishi Evolution 10 RC2-N4)
6. 8 Karan Patel/James Mwangi (Mitsubishi Evolution 10 RC2-N4)
7. 200 Jas Mangat/Joseph Kamya (Mitsubishi Evolution 10 RC2-R4)
8. 10 Farhaaz Khan/Keith Henrie (Mitsubishi Evolution 10 RC2-N4)
9. 12 Jasmeet Chana/Ravi Chana (Mitsubishi Evolution 10 RC2-N4)
10. 14 Eric Bengi/Tuta Mionki (Subaru Impreza RC2-N4)
11. 15 Pierro Cannobio/Sylvia Frigo(Mitsubishi Evolution 10 RC2-N4)
12. 204 Randeep Singh/Gurvinder Singh (Mitsubishi Evolution 10 RC2-N4)
13. 59 Izhar Mirza/Kavit Dave (Mitsubishi Evolution 10 RC2-N4)
14. 202 Ahmed Huwel/Gavin Lawrence (Ford Proto NAT-SPV)
15. 17 Mahesh Halai/Ketan Halai (Subaru Impreza RC2-N4)
16. 18 Minesh Rathod/Shameer Yusuf (Mitsubishi Evolution 10 RC2-R4)
17. 19 Aakif Virani/Azhar Bhatti (Subaru Impreza NAT-B13)
18. 58 Dilraj Chatthe/Riyaz Ismail (Mitsubishi Evolution 10 RC2-R4)
19. 203 Duncan Mubiru/Musa Nsubaga (Subaru Impreza RC2-N4)
20. 29 Ammar Haq/Victor Okundi (Mitsubishi Evolution 10 RC2-N4)
21. 24 Isaa Amwari/Mwangi Kioni (Mitsubishi Evolution 10 RC2-R4)
22 37 Paras Pandya/Falgun Bhojak (Mitsubishi Evolution 10 RC2-R4)
23. 31 Osman Abdullahi/Edward Njoroge (Subaru Impreza NAT-S)
24. 41 Sohanjeet Puee/Adnan Din (Subaru Impreza NAT-S)
25. 42 Edward Maina/John Ngugi (Subaru Impreza NAT-S)
26. 43 Daren Miranda/Wayne Fernandes (Subaru Impreza NAT-S)
27. 53 Imran Khan/Kennedy Masoni (Subaru Impreza NAT-S)
28.47 Nikhil Sachania/Alfir Khan (Mitsubishi Evolution 10 NAT- SPV)
29. 48 Geoff Mayes/Jamie Mactavisin (Land Rover NAT- SPV)
30. 57 Richard Arrowsmith/Roger Cmiowood (Ford Escort NAT-CLASSIC)
31. 201 Matt Shinnors/Catherine Shinnors (Ford Escort NAT-CLASSIC)
32. 55 Lovejyot Kahlon/Linet Ayuko (Subaru Impreza NAT-S)
33. 32 Charles Hinga/Anthony Gichohi (Toyota RunX NAT-2WD)
34. 60 Moez Malik/Steve Njenga (Mitsubishi Evolution 6 NAT-S)
35. 56 Evans Kavisi/Absolom Aswani (Subaru Impreza NAT-S)
36. 54 Sarit Shah/Haria Shah (Toyota Corolla NAT-2WD)