All is set, as regional crews eye the 2018 Safari Rally due to start from March 16-18 in Naivasha, Kenya.
The Safari comes as the second round of Africa Rally Championship (ARC) series, after the Rally Bandama which took place last month in Ivory Coast.
Among the drivers who have already confirmed participation is the Ugandan three-time champion and a former contender to the African crown Jas Magat who has told Kawowo.com that this year he will be in for a much more competitive contest; the 2018 Safari Rally.
The Ugandan is the first driver to confirm his participation in the rough Kenya race.
“It’s been a while since we competed in an international event. We would like to get out there and see how things have changed in regards to the pace and much more. And besides, Safari rally suits our work schedule,” he said
“I don’t think we have looked that far into the season at this point. Our focus is Safari at the moment and not ARC yet,” he said.
Mangat returns to Kenya with Joseph Kamya in the navigator seat of the Mitsubishi Evo X, he will be joined by Duncan Mubiru as they fly the Ugandan flag in Kenya.
Tanzania’s Ahmed Huwel is the other regional driver who has confirmed he will be part in the Naivasha race.
“It’s true, I will participate in the Safari Rally next weekend. It was a late decision made, but I know it will be for better in regards to my rally experience.” The former Tanzania Rally Champion said
Huwel has said that the Safari Rally is the first event to many other events he is planning to take part in this year across the border in Kenya.
“I will not only stop on Safari Rally, I am planning to do more two or three events in Kenya. Unfortunately, I will not concentrate much on our home championship as I need to first work on my pace in Kenya.”
The third ARC is a bid to fast-track the World Rally Championship project, Safari Rally organizers will be making major changes that will include the routes, organizations, and logistics. The shift is intended to match the standards of WRC events. All routes have been thoroughly graded; moving from rough to smooth stages.
Around 30 crews are expected to be part of the 66th edition of Safari Rally adventure, including crews more crews from Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Ireland, Finland but it is highly anticipated the Rwandan drivers will not make it just like last year because of financial resources.
A total competitive distance of 200.16kilometres will be covered in the three days race from: Aberdare hills (12.55km), Soysambu (18.75km), Sleeping warrior (25.00km), Elementaita (28.03km) and Kedong (31.50km) will make up the stages. Four stages will be repeated twice to make a total of nine stages.
Last, Tapio Laukannen became the first Finnish to win the 65th edition of the Kenya Safari Rally. He showed earlier intent for victory posting the fastest time on day one.