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Top crews gear up for East African Rally start

By ABDUL SIDI
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Mombasa Cement will host the first of the 24 competitive stages as the competition, which will also take drivers to Tanzania, starts after months of preparations. The first stage of the competition, now in its eighth edition, will be 18 kilometres long.

The nine-day event will see crews spend the first four days of the competition tackling the route based in Kenya. The route for last four days of the competition, including and a day’s rest, will be based in Tanzania. The crews will thereafter return to Kenya.

Besides telecommunications giant Safaricom, Vivo Energy Kenya through its Shell V-Power and Aviation Gas (Avgas) brands will be the other key sponsors of the 2019 East Africa Classic Rally. Other co-sponsors are Bidco Africa, Omologato and DT Dobie. The rally will cover more than 4,500 kilometers in Kenya and Tanzania over nine days. The longest stage will be 160km long while the shortest will be 60km.

The East African Classic Safari Rally has been held every two years since 2003 and is open to two-wheel drive, naturally aspirated rally cars built before 1985. Although the event has received one of the lowest entries so far this year, it has one of the strongest lists of foreign drivers, some of whom will grace the world famous Marathon Raid Rally.

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Three drivers who have won the Safari Classic Rally before, Ian Duncan, Stiq Blomqvist and Ryan Champion, are among 20 drivers who will line up at the starting point on Wednesday.

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

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