What you need to know:
- They will be bringing with them female mechanics, a first for rallying in Kenya
- The Classic rally will have a challenging journey covering 4,000km over nine days, attracting 45 international teams
- The actual competition will start on Sunday 9am and travel North for three days until the rest day in Nairobi at the Carnivore
There will be an all-lady team of Olga Lounova, a renowned singer, with her navigator, Lilia Khousnoutdinova from the Czech Republic at this year's East African Safari Classic Rally that starts this weekend and runs until December 18.
They will be bringing with them female mechanics, a first for rallying in Kenya.
The Czech crew is seeded at number 23 at the wheels of an Opel Ascona.
In the past, names of Michele Moulton, Fabrizia Pons, Ann Teith and Silvia King were high on the notes when Safari Rally was considered one of the toughest rounds of the World Rally Championship.
The female crew will also make history in Kenya by bringing in an all-female service crew. The previous ladies team relied on male mechanics.
The Classic rally will have a challenging journey covering 4,000km over nine days, attracting 45 international teams.
The event will kick off in Vipingo on Saturday with a shakedown stage, welcoming all spectators to come and watch a 20km stage, that will enable the seeding of the event.
The actual competition will start on Sunday 9am and travel North for three days until the rest day in Nairobi at the Carnivore. It will be followed by a grueling six-hour service for the crews, before heading back down South, to the climax in Diani on December 18.
The Chairman of the East African Safari Classic Rally is Joey Ghose while the Clerk of the Course is Renzo Bernardi.
Ghose was an established rally navigator before he became a senior rally organiser. Ghose navigated Sammy Aslam to eighth place in the 1994 Safari Rally among some of his many accolades.
He had started navigating in 1984 before shifting sides to become a rally driver himself in 2016 though he had briefly driven several years ago.
“I had initially started rallying as a driver in 1979 in a Subaru 1400cc Station Wagon. I was navigated by Bipin Tailor. First rally was the Sanyo 2000 Standard Production Class, we were time barred at the finish as we got stuck in a big mud hole,” Ghose told Nation Sport.
Ghose added: “Then progressed to a Datsun 160J, still driving and was navigated by Bipin and Sanjay Dey. After a few training rallies in 1979, I progressed to the KNRC in 1980. I started with the Rift and finished 13th overall, then did the Sanyo 2000 and had three consecutive rolls (Sanyo, BP, Coast). I ran out of funds so I had to stop rallying.”
Full programme of the event
Ceremonial Start Saturday at 9am from Vitinho Lodge
Prologue (Spectator Stage) after Ceremonial Start
Rest Day December 14
Finish of the Rally December 18
Night Stops: December 9 Vipingo Ridge
Day 1 - December 10 Mombasa to Voi - rest at Voi Wildlife Lodge
Day 2 - December 11 Voi to Amboseli -Rest at Amboseli Sopa Lodge
Day 3 - December 12 Amboseli to Naivasha - Rets at Lake Naivasha Sopa Resort
Day 4 - December 13 Naivasha To Nairobi - Rest at Tamarind Tree Hotel
Day 5 - December 14 Rest Day
Day 6 - December 15 Nairobi to Amboseli- Rest at Amboseli Sopa Lodge
Day 7 - December 16 Amboseli - Rest at Amboseli Sopa Lodge
Day 8 - December 17 Amboseli to Voi - Rest at Voi Wildlife Lodge
Day 9 - December 18 Voi to Okundi - Rest at Diamonds Leisure Lodge and Golf Resort