Champion Blomqvist, Tundo top seeds at EA Safari Classic


Champion Blomqvist, Tundo top seeds at EA Safari Classic

The 1984 World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist will be the one first off the ramp on the 2017 Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally which will start and end at Sarova Whitesands from November 23 to December 1.

Blomqvist, who is also the event’s defending champion, was placed first on the seeded entry list released by organizers East African Safari Rally (EASR) Limited at a Nairobi hotel on Friday.

The “Flying Swede” leads over 30 drivers out of Sarova Whitesands on this year’s 8th edition of the event which will revolve around Kenya and Tanzania.

Carl “Flash” Tundo, son of veteran Kenyan Safari Rally driver Frank Tundo is seeded second on the star-studded list which also has Baldev Singh Chager in third and two-time champion Ian Duncan placed fourth. Frank Tundo is seeded 16th in a Triumph TR7.

Geoff Bell (Datsun 260Z) from South Africa is seeded fifth and will be navigated by Kenya’s Timothy Challen. Challen is no stranger to the prestigious historic event having navigated Bell on previous editions.

Bell will be followed by Ford Escort RS 1800 Argentine driver Jorge Perez Companc, Richard Jackson (in a Tuthil Porsche) and the very able Mazda RX7 Frencman Pilippe Gache.

Jackson has entered the event in a Tuthill Porsche and will be navigated by Ryan Champion who recently tested in the welsh forest with Blomqvist.

Kenya’s star driver Raaji Singh Bharij will team up with Rajay Sehmi in ninth. He will drive a locally build Porsche 911.

Onkar Singh Rai is seeded 10th. He will team up with Gareth Dawe who also his navigator in the Kenyan National Rally Championship (KNRC).

During the event to announce the start order in Nairobi, organizers EASR Limited also confirmed the final list of cosponsors for the event.

Event General Manager Pipi Renu thanked KQ and all co-sponsors for their unswerving support.

“We are glad to welcome KQ and all co-sponsors back to the 2017 Safari Classic. The co-sponsors have not only helped the organization put up a world-class event but injected lots of quality to ensure smooth running,” Pipi said.

Kenya Airways, the local carrier is back as the title sponsor for the umpteenth time. They are sponsoring the prestigious biennial event for the seventh time since inception in 2003.

Kenya Airways were the title sponsors of the inaugural event in 2003 which was held between December 10-19 that year,  skipped the December 1st  to 10th Edition in 2005, and came on board consecutively in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013 , 2015 and now in 2017.

Leading communications firm Safaricom savored their association with the prestigious event for the first time this year.

The Kenyan telecom giants who are the Official Communication Partners have set aside a whooping KSh15 Million in cash and an additional KSh2 million worth of connectivity and airtime worth for the officials and rally crews.

TOP SEEDS

  1. Stig Blomqvist (TEAM TIDO-Porsche 911/SWEDEN)
  2. Carl Tundo (Triumph TR7/KENYA)
  3. Baldev Singh Chager (KABRAS SUGAR RACING-Porsche 911/KENYA)
  4. Ian Duncan (Ford Capri/KENYA)
  5. Geoff Bell (BEST WHYSKEY-Datsun 260Z/SOUTH AFRICA)
  6. Jorge Perez Companc (VIKING MOTORSPORTS-Ford Escort RS1800/ARGENTINA)
  7. Richard Jackson (Porsche 911/GREAT BRITAIN)
  8. Phillppe Gache (Mazda RX7/FRANCE)
  9. Raaji Bharij (Intra Africa Insurace-Porsche 911/KENYA)
  10. Onkar Singh Rai (KABRAS SUGAR RACING -Porsche 911-KENYA)

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