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Lean but mean field for classic rally

Wednesday November 20 2019

Mitsubishi's Baldev Chager and Ravi Soni compete in the 22km SS 3 Soysambu stage of the 2019 Safari Rally on July 6, 2019. PHOTO | ANWAR SIDI |

Mitsubishi's Baldev Chager and Ravi Soni compete in the 22km SS 3 Soysambu stage of the 2019 Safari Rally on July 6, 2019. PHOTO | ANWAR SIDI |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

ABDUL SIDI
By ABDUL SIDI
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Although this year’s Safaricom East African Safari Classic Rally has received one of the lowest entries, it has one of the strongest fields of foreign drivers who will grace the world famous marathon raid rally.

Two previous winners — Stiq Blomqvist and Ryan Champion — are among the 15 foreign crews out of the 21 entries that will take part in the ninth edition of the classic cars rally.

However, Champion, who shared the victory with Kenya’s Carl Tundo in the 2017 edition, will this year navigate Philip Kadoorie in one of the Porsche 911s.

According to Raju Chagar, the Clerk of the Course of the 10-day competition, Kadoorie’s motorsport career began in GT cars on circuits across China and the Middle East.

Kadoorie began to explore more adventurous events in historic rally cars, including a Lancia Stratos and the Porsche 911. His goal is to reach the finish and enjoy his first time in a rally in Africa.

Ian Duncan, the other Kenyan driver to have won the rally on two different occasions, will this year drive will debut a Rover Vitesse in this year’s Safaricom-sponsored event.

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Duncan, who won the 2009 East African Safari Classic Rally in a 1968 Ford Mustang and followed that with another victory in a Ford Capri in 2013, has entered a Rover Vitesse, the sole model of the make in the list of 21 cars received by the organisers.

Gilberto Sandretto is no stranger to the Safari Rally, having made his debut in Africa in the 2015 Classic event having also tackled other events in Africa in countries such as Morocco Historic Rally.

He will be navigated by the legendary Fabrizia Pons who has navigated Michele Mouton among her lead drivers.

Among the major sponsors of the event include Safaricom, Vivo Energy, Saravo Hotels, DT Dobie and Bidco Africa.

The nine-day competition will start in Mombasa next Thursday and will run in Kenya and Tanzania.

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