The East African Safari Classic Rally 2019 was held November 27 – December 6, starting and finishing in Mombasa on Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast. The biennial Rally is easily one of our favorite events covered by the team at Sports Car Digest. The blend of world-class drivers and cars plowing through mud, fording rivers and getting serious air time, combined with spectacular African landscapes and challenging driving conditions, make for wonderfully unique material.
First run in 2003, the East African Safari Classic Rally is a ten-day rally covering up to 5,000 kilometres through Kenya and Tanzania. Safari Classic rekindles the spirit of the original Safari Rally, which put East Africa on the motorsport map and earned an unassailable reputation as the world’s toughest rally. Open to two-wheel drive, normally aspirated, FIA rally cars built before 1986, the Safari Classic is an open road event, meaning competitive sections aren’t closed off to the public and goats, wandering villagers and wildlife are some of the hazards rally drivers needed to be aware of as they powered along.
The 2019 running of the East African Safari Classic Rally saw 20 teams battle the terrain of Kenya and Tanzania. While Porsches were again the favored mount, from the 1956 Porsche 356A of Renée Brinkerhoff and Juliette Brinkerhoff to the numerous 1970 and ’80s 911 Carrera entries, the field also included the Rover Vitesse of six-time Kenya National Rally Champion, Ian Duncan, a Nissan 240RS, a Ford Escort and a Datsun 160J. Competitors again included Stig Blomqvist, the former works driver with Saab, Ford, Peugeot, Nissan and Skoda who became World Rally Champion with Audi in 1984.
East African Safari Classic Rally 2019 – Photo Gallery (photos: McKlein Photography)
East African Safari Classic Rally 2019 – Race Results
1. Kris Rosenberger (AUT) / Nicola Bleicher (DEU) — Porsche 911
2. Stig Blomqvist (SWE) / Jorgen Fornander (SWE) — Porsche 911
3. Onkar Singh Rai (KEN) / Drew Sturrock (GBR) — Porsche 911
4. Philip Kadoorie (HKG) / Ryan Champion (GBR) — Porsche 911
5. Baldev Singh Chager (KEN) / Ravi Soni (KEN) — Porsche 911
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[Source: East African Safari Classic Rally; photos: McKlein Photography]