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Kenya Airways in conjunction with the East African Safari Classic Rally (EASCR) yesterday launched the eighth edition of the biennial East African Classic Safari Rally.

This year’s event, which will be flagged off at the Sarova Whitesands, Mombasa on November 23, is the seventh edition under Kenya Airways title sponsorship since 2003.

Speaking at the official launch at the KQ headquarters, Kenya Airways ground services director, Francis Musila, said the airline is proud to sponsor ‘The World’s Greatest Rally’ and highlighted the significance of the event in promoting trade, tourism and business opportunities for Kenya and the East African community at large.

“We are committed to continued investments in supporting various sports disciplines in the country in our resolve to grow and facilitate sports tourism in Kenya and the region at large. Being one of the most prestigious and nostalgic rally-sport events in the world, I believe Kenya Airways East African Classic Safari Rally is the best platform to nurture, develop and horn the skills of the participants in an international realm,” he said.

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Musila, who was speaking on behalf of Kenya Airways CEO, Sebastian Mikosz, added that Kenya Airways is committed to play a leading role in growing EASCR to claim even more glory and recognition in the world motor sport calendar in conjunction with the rally organisers.

Musila called upon fans and spectators to come in large numbers to support the event that will run from November 23 to December 1 with the crews battling it out through savannah, forest, rivers and valleys. They will also race against the scenic backdrop of some of the most captivating landscapes in the world, covering over 4,000km in both Kenya and Tanzania.

EASR Limited director, Raju Kishinani, on his part said the legendary Safari Rally has grown and blossomed over the years “but this would not have been possible without the support of partners such as Kenya Airways, Safaricom, Sarova Group of Hotels and JS Vohra.”

Raju further added that the Safari Classic Rally competitors’ journey to the chequered flag begins as soon as they set off for Kenya, so it’s wonderful to have the support of our national carrier and The Pride of Africa. Year-on-year they do us proud and it’s always a pleasure to work with them.”

This year, Safari Classic Rally will see some of the big names return to the picturesque Safari Classic terrain. The 1984 World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist will be back to defend the title he won for the first time in 2015 behind the wheel of a Porsche 911. The Swede oldie will renew his rivalry with local hero and six-time Kenya National Rally Champion Ian Duncan, who recently aired his Ford Capri RS3100 in a competitive test ahead of the 2017 Safari Classic.

Duncan will not be alone in taking the fight to Blomqvist. Also in the mix is the Datsun 260Z of South Africa’s Geoff Bell and the highly competitive Group B Mazda RX-7 of French historic veteran, Philippe Gache.

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