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THE KCB SAFARI RALLY: RETRACING ITS ROOTS
 
The Safari Rally has its roots in East Africa and was first held in 1953 in honor of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. It has changed names over the years, recently being renamed to the KCB Safari Rally after the Kenya Commercial Bank took up the reigns of sponsorship. Kenya’s Safari Rally was a popular sporting event in the 90s until it was pulled from the World Rally Championship in 2003 due to safety concerns. This year however, the Kenya Motorsports Federation made a decision to pull out of the Africa Rally Championship in an effort to make a comeback to the WRC roster for 2017.

The KCB Safari Rally event which was slated for October 2nd -4th instead took place on the traditional Easter holiday on April 3rd to 4th in an effort to retrace its roots and rekindle the lost glory of the old safari rally. The decision was made by the Kenya Motorsports Federation who faulted the FIA’s observer’s report for allegedly harbouring vested interests. The Kenya Motorsports Federation also revealed plans to instil new rules that accommodated low-cost crews as they felt that the FIA operational costs were prohibitive. This was all in a bid to try and regain the public interest that was rife in past years.

Drivers tackled a laborious circuit covering over 1000 kilometers while traversing Nairobi, Kiambu, Laikipia, Meru and Machakos counties. Jaspreet Chatthe weathered the pounding rains to beat Safari Rally legends Ian Duncan who snagged second place on the podium and Carl Tundo who came in third. The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution carried the day as all top three drivers powered the impressive automobile to triumph. Finland champion Tapio Laukkanen driving a R4 Subaru Impreza was in the lead on day one, having won all three stages. However, the Finnish driver expressed his disappointment at the placement of the service van in Meru town rather than Loldiaga, to which he ascribed his loss of a spot on the podium.