Safari Rally: Background Info

Safari Rally Kenya 98 Official Site: http://www.kenyaweb.com/safarirally/ ----------------------------------------------------------- Contents [Background Information] [The Leading Teams] [1997 Safari Rally Results (Top 10)] [Recent ...

Safari Rally Kenya 98 Official Site: http://www.kenyaweb.com/safarirally/

----------------------------------------------------------- Contents

[Background Information] [The Leading Teams] [1997 Safari Rally Results (Top 10)] [Recent Winners] [Reference Sites and Further Information]



It's stark contrast to the ice and snow of the last two rallies (Monte Carlo and Sweden) but this makes the Rally of Kenya - the Safari - the toughest endurance test in the WRC.

This is the 46th Safari and charts a shortest course ever, over 100kms less then 1997 (1367kms - 1997 and 1232kms - 1998). The teams can be faced with anything from dust so thick drivers can't even tell where the route is .. to mud that only a 4WD could possibly hope to navigate through. Current reports suggest the weather will be hot and sunny, but rain from the previous months has made many roads unpassable and sections had to be re-routed. As all roads used in the Safari are gravel roads open to the public, the organisers and teams are faced with other traffic causing potholes and deep ruts in the course.

With the 1997 service regulations still in force, stating that all servicing must be carried out in the official service parks only, the right combination of speed and "nursing" the car through the 1200+kms will see a team finish. Last year only 19 (4W2L) of the 52 (13W2L) starters finished the event and if the Safari is as tough as previous years only about 20 of the 57 starters in 1998 will make it to the finish line.


Toyota Castrol Team Team Toyota Europe http://www.tte.de

The Safari has been a happy hunting ground for Toyota, in the last 14 years, Toyota has won 8 titles, an astonishing record. This will be the first time the new Corolla will face the mighty Kenyan course and with strong performances in Monte Carlo and Sweden, TTE comes to Kenya with high expectations. With Carlos Sainz and Didier Auriol heading the Toyota Team you can assured both of them will be pushing all the way.


Mitsubishi Ralliart Mitsubishi Ralliart http://www.mitsubishi-motors.co.jp/motorsports/

Tommi Makinen and Mitsubishi hope to repeat his 1996 Safari victory but Makinen knows car reliability is crucial, having retired from the 1997 rally with a broken front differential. Joining Makinen is the ever improving Richard Burns in a Carisma GT. Burns first drove the Safari in 1994 and his maturing as a driver has seen him push closer towards the front (he even lead Rally Australia outright for 4 stages in 1997). With a second place in 1997 Safari maybe 1998 will be Burns year.


Subaru World Rally Team

Subaru are looking for a second Safari victory in a row with Colin McRae and Nicky Grist taking the 1997 Safari in their 555 Subaru Impreza. It was the first time a Briton had won the event. With Kenneth Eriksson's departure from Subaru, the second car is being driven by Piero Liatti (the Monte Carlo winner in 1997) He will be hoping to improve on his fifth place finish in the 1996 Safari Rally.


Ford Motorsport Ford Motorsport press releases http://www.motorsport.co.uk/ford.html

Juha Kankkunen will lead Fords Challenge in 1998, the four times world champion has won the Safari 3 times. Ford haven't won a Safari since 1977 and are hungry for victory. Ironically it was an Escort that gave victory to Ford in 1977 with the famous Bjorn Waldegard behind the wheel of his Escort RS.

Joining Kankkunen was to be Bruno Thiry, but he was victim to a freak accident during pre-event reconnaissance. Thiry was hitching a ride with team-mate Kankkunen, when Kankkunen's car hit a mud hole throwing Thiry around in the rear passenger compartment. He is resting comfortably in hospital with 5 broken ribs, but should be released in time to catch some of the action from the side lines.

Replacing Thiry is the legendary Ari Vatanen. The Ex-world champion hasn't driven in the Safari for 11 years, but he can never be under estimated.


The demands of the Safari are as tough on the cars as they are on the drivers, the top teams all significantly strengthen the bodyshell as well as increasing ground clearance, special hardened tyres and the addition of the now famous snorkel kits.

Sadly missed will be local hero Ian Duncan. Duncan is a Safari Rally expert, winning in 1994 and consistently placing in the top 5. A motorcycle accident that damaged his knee last month, ruled him out this year.

The 1998 Safari boasts 5 ex-world champions and the current title holder, it promises to be one of the most exciting and drama filled rallies of the 1998 season.


1997 Safari Rally Results (Top 10)

1  C.McRae/N.Grist  GB/GB                Subary Impreza  11.29.00  Gr-A
2  R.Burns/R.Reid  GB/GB                Mit. Carisma GT  11.36.04  Gr-A
3  I.Duncan/D.Willianson EAK/EAK         Toyota Celica  11.40.18  Gr-A
4  A.Schwarz/D. Giraudet  D/F                  Ford Escost  13.07.23  Gr-A
5  J.Toroitich/I.Choge  EAK/EAK          Toyota Celica  13.51.32  Gr-A
6  F.Dor/K.Gormley  F/GB                  Subaru Impreza  15.13.52  Gr-A
7  E.Katto/J.Opoka  EAU/EAU                  Toyota Celica  15.30.05  Gr-A
8  R.Stohl/J.Bertl  A/D                  Audi Quattro 15.48.17  Gr-A
9. J.Hellier/S.Rocca  EAK/I                  Subaru Impreza  15.48.44  Gr-N
10 K.Hirji/F.Nekusa  EAU/EAU                  Toyota Celcia  16.31.37  Gr-A



1987  Hannu Mikkola/Ame Hertz         Audi 200 Quattro (92.72kph)
1988  Miki Biasion/Tiziano Siviero    Lancia Delta Integrale (89.48kph)
1989  Miki Biasion/Tiziano Siviero    Lancia Delta Integrale (93.12kph)
1990  Bjorn Waldegard/Fred Gallagher  Toyota Celica GT-Four (87.67kph)
1991  Juha Kankkunen/Juha Piironen    Lancia Delta Integrale (90.8lkph)
1992  Carlos Sainz/Luis Moya          Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD (93.46kph)
1993  Juha Kankkunen/Juha Piironen    Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD (99.85kph) 
1994  Ian Duncan/Dave Williamson      Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD (114.96kph) 
1995  Yoshio Fujimoto/Ame Hertz       Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD (114.71kph) 
1996  Tommi Makinen/Seppo Harjanne    Mit. Lancer EV.III (123.71kph)
1997  Colin McRae/Nicky Grist         Subaru Impreza WRCAr (114.78kph)


Reference Sites and further information:

1998 World Rally Championship coverage WRC Infosystem: http://www.travelnet.fi/wrc/ Rallysport.com: http://www.rallysport.com FIA info: http://www.fia.com/presse/ralnew-a/lista.htm

Team Toyota Europe  http://www.tte.de
Mitsubishi Ralliart  http://www.mitsubishi-motors.co.jp/motorsports/
Ford Motorsport press releases  http://www.motorsport.co.uk/ford.html

Mobil 1 British Rally Championship http://www.motorsport.co.uk

Federation Internationale De L'Automobile (FIA) http://www.fia.com

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Tommi Makinen , Colin McRae , Carlos Sainz , Richard Burns , Didier Auriol , Juha Kankkunen , Kenneth Eriksson , Luis Moya , Nicky Grist , Miki Biasion , Tiziano Siviero , Ari Vatanen , Piero Liatti , Bjorn Waldegard , Hannu Mikkola
Teams Williams