THE CHASE IS ON: Safari Rally is all about beating Tapio and breaking records

By By FP REPORTER: Friday, March 17th 2017 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Sporting
Tapio Laukkanen and co-driver Pasi Torma navigate through Chemweno farm in Moi Ben, Uasin Gishu during the KCB Rally on October 8, 2016. Tapio Laukkanen won the competition. [PHOTO:STAFFORD ONDEGO/WWW.SPORTPICHA.COM]

Will it be another Singh Safari or Tapio Laukkanen's maiden win?

This has been the million-dollar question as rally lovers brace for the 65th edition of the Safari Rally 2017 today morning.

The event will be flagged off at the KICC grounds, bringing to Kenya the second round of the FIA African Rally Championships.

While Tapio and the Kenyan bigwigs will be chasing Kenya National Rally Championship points, registered African drivers will resume their hunt for the coveted continental title after the opening Rallye Bandama of Ivory Coast.

The African title has remained in Kenya over the past two seasons after Jaspreet “Jassi” Singh won in 2015 and Don Smith clinching it last year.

Among registered drivers gunning for the continental title are Don Smith, Vallery Bukera of Rwanda, Hassan Alwi of Uganda and the Zambian Singh brothers, Muna and Jassy.

The ARC front has been hit by the withdrawal of Jas Mangat of Uganda, citing technical reasons.

Jassy, who is the 2013 African champion, said he is ready to resume with the title hunt.

The Zambian speed merchant last tackled the world famous Safari in 2013, the same year he was crowned the African rally champion.

The son of legendary two-time continental champion, Muna Singh, has, however, revealed that he will not be tackling the rest of the ARC series after missing out the Rallye Bandama of Ivory Coast.

“We want to compete against the Kenyan teams and just have fun. We are not doing the whole African championship, but Kenya was in our plans from last year, so we look forward to the safari rally. The only thing we hope for is to have good roads.

"Our aim is to finish in the top five, but I know it will be tough. It will be a big challenge, but we are all very excited to be in Kenya.

The safari rally format is also new to us as the service points are not all in one area, so our service crews will have to keep moving and be on top of things. We like new challenges though and we will take them as they come,” said Jassy.

The Flying Finn (Tapio) will for the umpteenth time, be the man to beat on the Safari. Last year, he finished third and lost the 2015 edition in Meru.

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