The 2009 East African Safari Classic Rally will take place November 22nd through December 1st, starting from Mombasa, Kenya and covering 4,300 kilometers of which 1,900 will be competitive.
Forty one local and international drivers have already signed up for this year’s rally and Kenya Airways announced a sponsorship package to keep the event’s title sponsorship.
Clerk of the Course, Surinder Thatthi said it was encouraging to received 41 entries in spite of the current economic recession the world has had to contend with. He said 16 more entries are set to be forthcoming. “If we get the 16 entries then we will have a total of 56 and will have four more left to realize the maximum of 60,” Surinder added that they were unable to enlist more than 60 due to accommodation issues.
“The format of the rally will be four days of competition with rest halt in the famous Amboseli National Park in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. This will be followed by another four days of competition before the cars head for the finish on the sandy beaches north of Mombasa,” Thatthi added.
Former 5-time Safari Rally winner and rallying idol, Bjorn Waldegard of Sweden is among the list of 41 cars that have already entered the rally. He has entered this year’s edition in a Porsche 911 prepared and run by Francis Tuthill Porsche. The Swede, one of the greatest Safari Rally drivers of all time and was the overall winner of the last edition in 2007.
Ian Duncan, former winner of the Safari Rally will spearhead the local interest driving a Ford Mustang with other drivers being Stefano Rocca in a Datsun 240Z, Aslam Khan in a Ford Escort, Marzio Kravos in a Mercedes 450SLC and Ben Muchemi in a Datsun 260Z.
Although the details of the actual 2009 rally route are secret until the rally starts, the Safari organizers have released an outline of the rally with locations of the night halts. The innovation this year is that three of the night halts are used for two consecutive nights in Arusha, Amboseli and Naivasha.