The Safari Rally is a rally race held in Kenya. It was first held from 27 May to 1 June 1953 as the East African Coronation Safari in Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika, as a celebration of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. In 1960 it was renamed the East African Safari Rally and kept that name until 1974, when it became the Safari Rally. Widely regarded as one of the most popular African rallies, it was set to make a return to the World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2020 after an 18-year hiatus, but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will instead return in the 2021 World Rally Championship.
The older version of the Safari Rally was notorious for being by far the most difficult rally in the WRC championship to win: some[who?] had said that winning this particular rally was the equivalent of winning three other rallies. The arduous conditions, such as the constantly changing weather and the very rough roads often rife with sharp rocks, made life very difficult for team personnel. Repairs were constantly having to be made to the cars, which added to the elapsed time of the competitors. Frequently, all this work had to be done in intense heat and humidity.
The event adopted the special stage format in 1996. From that edition until 2002, it featured over 1000 km of timed stages, with stages well over 60 kilometres (37 mi) long, unlike most rallies which had under 500 kilometres (310 mi) of total timed distance. This meant that the winner's total time penalty was above 12 hours in 1996 and decreased to two seconds shy of 8 hours in 2002.
On the 27 September 2019, The Safari Rally was readmitted into the WRC championship calendar starting with the 2020 rally between 16 and 19 July, but was later cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, instead making its return in 2021.
Local driver Shekhar Mehta is the most successful in the event with five outright victories, in 1973, and 1979 to 1982.
The Safari Rally made a comeback to the WRC in 2021 after an eighteen year hiatus from the 24th - 27th June with a successful event held in Kenya on the floor of the Rift Valley in Naivasha, Nakuru County. Sebastian Ogier and Co-Driver Julien Ingrassia emerged winners in their Toyota Yaris WRC.
Notes: IMC = International Championship for Manufacturers, WRC = World Rally Championship, 2LWC = 2-Litre World Cup, ARC = African Rally Championship, IRC = Intercontinental Rally Challenge, KRC = Kenya National Rally Championship
East African Safari Rally (classic)
The East African Safari Rally is a Classic rally event first held in 2003 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first running of the event. The event has since been held biennially.
|Year||Dates||Winning Driver / Co-driver||Winning Car|
|2003||Dec 10 – Dec 19|| Rob Collinge
|2005||Dec 1 – Dec 10|| Rob Collinge
|2007||Nov 25 – Dec 3|| Björn Waldegård
|Ford Escort Mk1|
|2009||Nov 22 – Dec 1|| Ian Duncan
|2011||Nov 20 – Nov 28|| Björn Waldegård
|2013||Nov 21 – Nov 29|| Ian Duncan
|2015||Nov 19 – Nov 27|| Stig Blomqvist
|2017||Nov 23 – Dec 1|| Richard Jackson
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Safari Rally.|
- The name Tanzania did not exist in 1953
- "Safari 68". Autocar. Vol. 129 (nbr 3777). 4 July 1968. pp. 6–9.
- International sportworld communication. "Safari glory for first world champion Waldegard". 29 November 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
- "Final Classification Safari Classic 2017". East African Safari Classic Rally. 2017-12-01. Retrieved 2018-02-15.
- "Tundo and Jackson share Safari Classic victory". East African Safari Classic Rally. 2017-12-01. Retrieved 2018-02-15.