The first group of Tuthill technicians arrived in Kenya last week and the boys have started setting up our pre-rally testing headquarters at Vipingo Ridge, just north of Mombasa. Four Tuthill Porsche 911s are already on site, with a few more yet to arrive with local rally teams being supported by our guys on the 2017 Safari Classic Rally.
This year’s event is a little bit smaller than previous editions. We’ve run some huge squads in previous years as part of an entry list totalling more than fifty cars and crews, but this year is closer to forty rally entries in total, so it is a bit easier on everyone: Tuthill Porsche included. Easier to find enough hotel beds at overnight halts, easier to move people and parts around this vast region and easier to service cars when things start getting interesting, as they invariably do on Safari.
Despite the reduced field, it will be no less competitive. Stig Blomqvist returns in the Team Tido Race4Health Porsche 911, this year partnered by Mattias Adielsson: our newest Below Zero Ice Driving instructor and a very capable rally driver himself. Roger Samuelsson is back in another Team Tido Race4Health Porsche 911, again partnered by the highly experienced Robin Friberg.
Richard Jackson and Ryan Champion are also back in the Welcome to Yorkshire Porsche 911. The dynamic duo are looking forward to mixing it amongst the top ten – RT may even buy the beers if they can set some top five stage times. Competition will be tough at the front of the field, with South Africa’s Geoff Bell and Kenyan legends, Carl Tundo, Baldev Chager and our old friend, Ian Duncan, all seeded in the top five. The rest will have to go some to beat Stig in a Porsche but Kenya is never predictable. That is why we love it so much and why we keep coming back for more.
It is also great to see some more old friends on the rally schedule, including 1983 world champion, Hannu Mikkola, who is bringing the 1987 Safari-winning Audi 200 Quattro back to Kenya for the thirtieth anniversary of Audi’s one and only Safari Rally win, and Dominique Savignoni, our great friend from Corsica who was such an incredible co-driving partner for François Delecour in the Tuthill Porsche 997 R-GT rally car through our FIA R-GT Cup-winning season in 2015. We’re looking forward to catching up with Dominique in Africa.
The rest of the team lands in Kenya this week and we cannot wait to get started on November 23rd in Mombasa. Keep up with all the news here and on our social media feeds.