By FEVERPITCH REPORTER
The Khan siblings Aslam and Arshad are optimistic they will put up a strong performance with a new car at this year's Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally.
The two have had to contend with mechanical problems during previous editions of the event and have seen rally technology change over time.
Aslam and Arshad Khan are set to race for the ALS Rally Team in a Porsche 911 to be shipped from England for the November race. Aslam Khan’s Ford Escort during the 2009 edition of KQ Safari Classic Rally. He has resorted to use a Porsche this season. [PHOTO: SAMUEL NYAKONDO/Standard].
Aslam Khan’s Ford Escort during the 2009 edition of KQ Safari Classic Rally. He has resorted to use a Porsche this season. [PHOTO: SAMUEL NYAKONDO/Standard].
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And having driven a Datsun 180B in 2003 and 2005, and a Ford Escort RS in the 2007 and 2009 editions, the brothers are upbeat after placing the order for the car, to be supplied by Turthill Porsche- based in Bradley, England.
"The car is still lying in Bradley and will be in the high seas in a few months," said Arshad.
Arshad, younger brother to Aslam, boasts of winning the Kenya National Rally Championship Group N Navigators’ diadem with Shamash Manji in 2003.
Aslam Khan, a retired Kenya Air Force pilot, will be reuniting with his younger brother for the first time on Kenyan soil since 2003 when they raced a Datsun 180B. Aslam has participated in all the editions of the East Africa Classic Safari Rally, partnering up with Arshad in 2003, his nephews Imran Khan in 2005 and 2007 and Farhaaz Khan in 2009.
Recently, the two brothers raced in the revived Rallye Du Maroc, where they drove for the better part of the desert race and comfortably returned fourth and fifth during the stages before mechanical problems set in, forcing them to finish eighth overall.
Rallye du Maroc is a marathon rally organised in a similar fashion to that of the Kenya Airways East Africa Classic Safari first run in 1934.
The event was sporadically held in Morocco until 1988 when the French team of Paul Emile Descamps and Michel Gautheron emerged winners in an Opel Manta 400.
"Racing Morocco was fantastic. It was a good build-up ahead of the Classic Rally," added Arshad. The Khan family has also been well represented in the KCB Kenya National Rally Championship. Aslam has for the past three seasons contested for the KCB Classic Car Cup title, which he won in
2008 and Arshad, navigating for his son Fazy Khan in Mitsubishi Evolution 8 during 2010 Nakuru Rally in Mogotio. The Kenya Airways-sponsored event has attracted 24 entries, including Mark and Edward Bentley from England in a Ford Escort Mark 1.
The Bentleys are participating in the event for the first time and, with the route planning of the event almost complete, organisers expect next year’s edition to be one of the toughest as it has many new sections.