ARUSHA’S Jayant Shah is the only Tanzanian entry in this year’s East African Classic Rally scheduled to rev off in exotic areas of Kenya and Tanzania from November 27 to December 6.
Shah, who will be driving Porsche 911 under the navigation of Ravi Chana, is arguably one of the veteran drivers now going at 75.
According to the latest information from Satiender Birdi of the Automobile Association of Tanzania (AAT), the East African Classic Rally will enter Tanzania through Holili border post and proceed to Arusha then back to Kilimanjaro before entering Kenya through Horohoro.
Shah has been taking part in the East African Safari since its inception in 2003. Prior to the re-introduction, Shah together with Bert Shankland, Zully Rehemtullah and Nizar Jivani, are the Tanzania’s East African Safari Rally legends.
Now defunct, the Safari Rally 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’s set to make a return to the World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2020 after a 17-year hiatus.
The older version of the Safari Rally was notorious for being by far the most difficult rally in the WRC championship to win.
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 was excluded from the WRC calendar due to a lack of finance and organisation in 2003. Since 2003 the event has been part of the African Rally Championship, organised by the FIA.
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.