Thursday, July 11: Former European champion Phillip Soeterboek will spearhead a group of five Dutch teams who have entered four-wheel-drive vehicles in next month's Australian Safari international cross country rally through rural NSW.
Soeterboek, who won three European and four Dutch off-road titles in the 1990s, will team up with Gerard Adema in a Mitsubishi Pajero in the 4,312km Safari from August 24-September 1.
Other Dutch teams confirmed for the Auto Division of the Safari are Andre van Kempen and Hans van Kempen in a Daihatsu, Aad van der Voort and Ed Vink in a Land Rover, Martin Van den Heuvel and Maarten Van Eijk in a Mitsubishi Pajero, and Rijk Verkerk and Cornelis van de Zandschulp in a Toyota Landcruiser.
The five vehicles are being shipped from the Netherlands to Australia and are scheduled to arrive on August 16. Personnel in the Dutch teams competing in the Safari will total 25, including drivers and service crew members.
Soeterboek, who previously contested the Safari in 1999 when it was held in the Northern Territory, said he had undertaken a thorough program to prepare his Pajero for the event, which is promoted by global sports and event marketing company Octagon.
"We have a new motor and suspension, and we have been working hard for many months to make sure our Pajero is as strong and reliable as it needs to be for a rally of this type," he said.
The 41-year-old from Kaatsheuvel said that all the Dutch teams contesting the Safari would be venturing into the unknown.
"Even though I have been in the Safari once before it being held in a different place this year, so the conditions are going to be a surprise for all of us," said Soeterboek. "However, we know this rally is going to be very hard on the cars and the people, so our aim will be to finish and to be in the highest position we can get."
Another overseas competitor entered is American Bob Land, who will be partnered by Wade Dennis in an Isuzu Jackaroo.
The Australian charge will be led by defending champion and four-times winner Bruce Garland of Sydney, driving a Holden Rally Team Jackaroo. The team will also campaign two production-version Jackaroos, driven by multiple Bathurst 1000 champion Peter Brock and part-time V8 Supercar driver Nathan Pretty.
This year's Safari starts and finishes in Bathurst and includes overnight stops in Condobolin, Griffith, Wentworth, Broken Hill, White Cliffs, Cobar, and Dubbo.
The Moto Division of the 2002 Safari will be the fourth round of this year's Federation Internationale Motocycliste (FIM) Cross Country Rallies World Cup. Austrian manufacturer KTM has announced a two-man team comprising past winners Andy Caldecott and Andy Hayden, from South Australia.
Octagon is the global marketing-led sports and event marketing company. It offers worldwide expertise across all eight major sports and event marketing disciplines: athlete representation, consultancy, event management, property representation and sales, TV rights sales and distribution, TV production and archive, new media and licensing and merchandising.
Octagon is part of The Interpublic Group (NYSE:IPG), the world's largest advertising and marketing communications group. The Interpublic Group is the only marketing communications and services group with a global sports marketing capability. Octagon employs over 1,500 people in 24 countries on all major continents. For further information please visit: http://www.octagon.com
The Australian Safari is supported by the NSW Government.