Updates about the 2017 edition of the East African Safari Classic Rally

Welcome to the latest Safari Classic Rally newsletter, with news from Stig Blomqvist’s pre-Safari test with Tuthill Porsche.
Welcome to the latest newsletter for the 2017 East African Safari Classic Rally. Feel free to email pictures of your Safari Classic preparations to media for inclusion as an online news item and in the next edition of our newsletter.
Safaricom joins Safari Classic’s strongest-ever sponsor list
Safaricom has joined the growing list of sponsors for this year’s East African Safari Classic Rally. Kenya’s premier communications provider will supply a sponsorship package worth KES 17 Million ($160,000) for the 2017 Safari Classic Rally through Kenya and Tanzania from Nov 23rd – Dec 1st.

“The Safari Classic Rally enjoys a reputation as one of the world’s toughest contests and it is our pleasure to be part of its rich heritage,” said Safaricom’s Consumer Director, Sylvia Mulinge, announcing the sponsorship package and additional provision of connectivity and airtime for officials and rally crews. “As fans and competitors experience this ultimate adventure, they will sample the beauty of our country, while simultaneously enjoying Safaricom’s famously fast Internet speeds and market leading network coverage.”

“We’re delighted to welcome Safaricom as a sponsor for this year’s Safari Classic Rally,” said rally CEO, Raju Kishinani. “Safaricom is an inspirational company, built on a platform of sustainable development. Its ‘Transforming Lives’ initiative is a revolutionary idea to liberate people through technology, and the M-PESA programme to improve efficiency and eliminate corruption by digitizing the distribution of food aid to our most vulnerable citizens is a truly unique approach. We are honoured to enjoy Safaricom’s support.”

“This year’s Safari Classic Rally covers 4,000 kms through Kenya and Tanzania, exposing rally sponsors to vast swathes of the rural population,” notes rally chairman, JS Vohra. “Alongside the welcome financial and infrastructural support, Safaricom’s impressive social media presence and extensive marketing reach ensures the widespread distribution of Safari Classic news, spreading its competitive spirit and bringing global attention to Kenya and East Africa.”

“Safaricom believes that sport plays a vital role in transforming the lives of the communities that we serve,” continued Ms. Mulinge. “Our sporting sponsorships include the Safaricom Athletics Series, the IAAF Under-18 Championship and next month’s Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom football tournament. We’re pleased to be part of the team for this year’s Safari Classic Rally and look forward to waving the competitors off from Sarova Whitesands in Mombasa on November 23.”

Blomqvist tests with Tuthill Porsche for Safari Classic Rally
Tuthill Porsche recently tested in the Welsh forests with reigning Safari Classic Rally champion, Stig Blomqvist, ahead of this year’s Safari Classic Rally. In a two-day test that was blessed with the full range of British summer weather, the former world rally champion proved to have lost none of his legendary poise.

Two more Safari Classic competitors were also testing in Wales: Ryan Champion and Gilberto Sandretto, who made his debut on the 2015 Safari Classic, co-driven by Fabrizia Pons. Gilberto’s Safari 911 was one of two Porsche rally cars used on the two-day test at Walter’s Arena in Brecon.

“This has been a very useful test for both Stig and Gilberto,” said team boss, Richard Tuthill. “It’s great to see Stig back behind the wheel. His driving style is just so efficient and effortless and the cars have been super reliable. A small evolution on the front damper has given us some noticeable improvements. This venue is perfect for shaking cars down and it means we can load our 911s into the container knowing that they are ready to start the event as soon as they arrive.”

International rally winner, Ryan Champion, was also delighted to be back in a Porsche. Champion returns as co-driver to fellow Yorkshireman, Richard Jackson, later this year, but has taken the wheel on a number of previous events. A duel with Sweden’s Richard Goransson in identical cars on the last Safari Classic Rally led to some very exciting tussles at the top of the stage times.

“My last outing in one of these cars was instructing at Tuthill’s Below Zero Ice Driving in Sweden. Sitting in with Stig and Gilberto, along with Gilberto’s son, Tommaso, the weather has been tricky at times, but all three drivers have enjoyed a reliable test and sharpened their skills on tough terrain. The weather in Kenya this November should be a bit warmer and hopefully we can enjoy a competitive rally.”

Tuthill’s pre-Safari programme includes two more shakedown and test events in Wales before the cars ship to Africa in early September. “Wardington is currently packed with Safari cars in various stages of preparation, and the logistics effort to get our support team together is in full swing,” said Richard. “We’re all looking forward to stepping off the plane in Mombasa, feeling the African sun on our faces and starting another epic Safari.”

Save Kenyan Wildlife via Carbon Offset with Wildlife Works
The Wildlife Works Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project protects over 500,000 acres of dryland forest in southeastern Kenya, securing the wildlife migration corridor between Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks. This area was part of the East African Safari Rally Classic route in both 2013 and 2015, and will be again in 2017.

REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) is a climate change mitigation mechanism originated by the United Nations, designed to help stop the destruction of the world’s forests. Prior to the REDD+ project implementation in Kenya’s Kasigau Corridor, the area was under intense threat from slash-and-burn agriculture and charcoal production. Through the REDD+ project’s improvement of alternative livelihoods and sustainable community development, these threats have been significantly reduced.

The Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project benefits over 100,000 rural Kenyans, including 4,000 local community landowners, through the distribution of carbon revenue, providing a low-carbon, sustainable development pathway for the project area’s rural communities. Job creation is the core conservation strategy, so the project employs over 300 local citizens in jobs including forest and wildlife rangers, plot sampling staff, horticulturists, eco-factory workers, construction workers, mechanics and administrative personnel.

Some of the current employees previously had to destroy their environment just to survive, yet Wildlife Works’ has offered them an alternative livelihood. Additionally, the project has created regional development of education, water access, women’s empowerment, and small enterprise business opportunities, while agricultural intensification methods stop the expansion of slash-and-burn agriculture and enhance food security.

The Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project has also achieved tremendous results in biodiversity preservation, and is credited with the resurgent regional populations of endangered species including the African elephant, Grevy’s zebra, cheetah, and lion.

The Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project generates Verified Emission Reductions (VERs), otherwise known as carbon offsets, where each VER represents the avoidance of one ton of carbon being released into the atmosphere. VERs are purchased by corporations and individuals who voluntarily elect to reduce their unavoidable emissions. Proceeds from Wildlife Works’ VER sales are reinvested in green economic development for the local community, thus removing the threat to the forest.

The conservation of the project area relies on the voluntary offset of emissions by corporations, NGOs and individuals. The East African Safari Classic Rally teams and their sponsors are invited to join some of the world’s leading corporations including Kenya Airways, Allianz, Kering, BNP Paribas, Microsoft, Barclays Bank, and Marks & Spencer in offsetting unavoidable carbon emissions and protecting primary Kenyan forest by supporting Wildlife Works’ Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project.

To find out more about your team’s potential carbon footprint, please contact Cara on cara.

Marc Marti available to co-drive
A reminder that Marc Martí, the experienced WRC co-driver currently partnering Hyundai’s Dani Sordo, is still seeking a co-driver opening for this year’s Safari Classic Rally. Marc has rallied in Africa on several occasions and is keen to come back to Kenya.

"I did my first Safari Rally in 1998 with the Seat WRC team, alongside Oriol Gómez. Our rally ended with suspension failure, but I really enjoyed the country and the people. I was always in love with this Rally Safari and I would like to do it again. Though the concept for Safari Classic is completely different (to WRC), it will be nice to drive through the fantastic stages in East Africa.

"I have many good memories from my Safari with Seat in 1998 and hope to find a way to take part in the Classic. Many fellow WRC co-drivers tell me how this rally is a fantastic experience. It would be great to find a space to participate."

UK Rally2WD initiative hopes to boost historics
When it comes to exciting gravel rallies, we are spoiled for choice here in Kenya, but not all countries have it so good. UK rallying has been forced to launch a new Rally2WD initiative in a bid to rekindle support for gravel rallying with historic and two-wheel drive cars.

Rally2WD has been created to try and reverse the alarming decline in the number of entries on many gravel rallies this season; a decline that is widely regarded as a primary consequence of the change to running order on rallies.

The concept has been developed to encourage back the groups most adversely affected by the move to a single field based on performance. The historic and lower powered front-wheel drive entries have been decimated as a result and it is those competitors that are the target for Rally 2WD, along with all other two-wheel drive cars, historic or modern, that have virtually disappeared from the sport.

The statistics are alarming: in the three years since the most recent changes to running order were put in place, the average entry of 1400cc cars has dropped from 43 cars to 18, while the average historic entry has dropped from 67 to 37. In the historic Category 1, for pre-1968 cars, the average field has gone from 13 cars to just two cars.

Events adopting the Rally 2WD concept will effectively run two back-to-back rallies: the first for all two-wheel drive cars, including historics. The second will be for all four-wheel drive cars. The concept allows both events to run within one day, with all stage action running between 9am and 5pm while fully meeting all MSA requirements.

More details regarding Rally2WD will be announced in the coming weeks.

Official Rally Tour and Safari
The official East African Safari Classic Rally tour is an amazing opportunity to experience the awesome splendour of African landscapes and wildlife. It also affords plenty of time to watch the rally action unfolding on the world’s toughest historic motorsport event.

Few experiences compare to exploring the wilds of Kenya and Tanzania by following the legendary Safari Classic Rally through some of our planet’s most famous wildlife reserves and ecological wonders. Our official tour is a truly memorable East African experience.

Download details of the official Rally Tour and Safari here. Contact us for more information.

Compulsory Medical Information Form now online
One of the major challenges on the East African Safari Classic Rally is to the physical and psychological strength of competitors. Our rally is the toughest historic motorsport event anywhere in the world and, while we delight in preserving that reputation, we also want to ensure that competitors are as safe as possible, including reacting to medical emergencies quickly and appropriately on the event.

For our rally doctor to have the most up-to-date information available, there is acompulsory medical form to be completed. All information is treated in the strictest confidence and is only referred to in the event of accident or injury, when appropriate details may be released to another doctor or an EASCR 2017 Senior Official if necessary.

To discuss any concerns relating to medical issues, please email Dr Harj Chaggar direct or<a href="mailto:info for clarification. Remember that 2017 regulations have changed to allow power steering! The benefits of this update should not be underestimated.

Please return the completed medical form as soon as possible for your own protection and the safety of all fellow competitors. Be safe – be certain – ask questions – eliminate doubt.

Send us your story

We love to hear how our competitors and their crews came to Safari and the stories of your preparations and ambitions. We look forward to sharing all photos and stories across our channels between now and the start of the rally. Send your Safari stories tomedia.

Download the latest rally bulletins
For those interested in attending the 2017 Safari Classic Rally or taking part in the event, there is plenty of information available to download on our website.

The full Rally Regulations and the Official Entry Form for the 2017 East African Safari Classic Rally are both available for download here.

Email us with any questions regarding our rally or to discuss the 2017 event.

Safari Social Media: Follow our Channels
The East African Safari Classic Rally is active across many social media channels. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or check out our website by using the buttons below. Tag us in your pics or share your content with us using the hashtag #safariclassic !
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