WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16: Nine Network personality Glenn Ridge will take a break from his television commitments later this week to chase a third class win in the Vodafone Australian Safari international cross-country rally.

Ridge, host of the high-rating 'Sale Of The Century' program, will drive a Clarion-sponsored Nissan Patrol in the 4,067km event through the Northern Territory from August 20-27 with South Australian Bob Edwards.

They are entered in the Auto Division class for modified four-wheel-drive diesel vehicles.

Ridge has contested the Safari twice before, in 1992 and again 12 months ago, and emerged a class winner both times.

He said he relished the challenge of driving in the Safari, which this year covers a course with 24 stages from Alice Springs to Darwin.

"I read questions on television for a living, so the Safari gives me the chance to get out there and do something different," said Ridge.

"It's a fabulous event because it caters for the fully professional teams going for the win, and enthusiasts like myself who are there because we love motorsport and we want to have some fun."

"Our priority is to make it to Darwin in one piece and finish, and if we could win the class again it would be a bonus."

Ridge said that because of his status as a part-time motorsport competitor he adopted conservative tactics in the Safari.

"I've learnt you have to pace yourself and keep it clean and be consistent every day," he said. "If you charge off on the first couple of days you can get yourself into trouble with the extra 'wear and tear' on the vehicle."

Ridge's other motorsport activities have included competing in Targa Tasmania and driving in the Celebrity Race at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix.

"Cars and racing are passions of mine, and I'm fortunate to be in a position where I can do events like the Safari and still have a 'real job'," he said.

Ridge is among 24 entries in the Auto Division of the Safari, which is promoted by Octagon Motorsport, backed by the Northern Territory Government, and sanctioned by the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and the Federation Internationale Motocycliste (FIM).

Mike Porter, mikep@qldnet.com.au