The good news for all supporters and fans of the Kenya Airways Safari Classic Rally is that Ian Duncan will be on the start line on November 19th. The winner of the Safari Classic when it was last run in 2013, Duncan initially ran into difficulties when he entered for 2015 in the same Ford Capri Piranha V8 that he had driven in 2013.
The problem was simply that there has been a change in the technical regulations for the Safari Classic with an adherence to Appendix K of the FIA that covers all internationally recognised events for classic cars. Duncan’s South African-built Capri with its American V8 engine had never been internationally homologated and was thus not eligible. After protracted talks to try and resolve the problem, it was suggested that Duncan could run a car based on the Ford Capri RS3100 powered by the 3,098cc V6 Essex engine. The Safari organisers recently flew out their chief scrutineer, Geoff Doe, and Competitor Relations Officer, Tim Ashton, to liaise with Ian Duncan and see what could be done.
The result was a list of bodywork dispensations that were needed to make this idea viable. They were circulated to all the other competitors who were invited to dissent and given fourteen days in which to do so. With the fourteen days now expired and no adverse comments, Duncan has a clear route to ensure that he will be on the start line in November. A new, triple carburettor engine is on its way from England to Kenya while Duncan and his technical crew are poring over the Capri RS3100 homologation form, Appendix K and the list of dispensations. The final hurdle for the team will be when Geoff Doe and the scrutineering team inspects the Capri – along with all the other rally cars – in the days just before the rally to ensure that it meets with both the regulations and all his recommendations.
On every side, there is a good feeling that East Africa’s most famous and respected rally driver willonce again be taking part in the Safari Classic. Through this difficult time, one of his strongest supporters has been John Lloyd, himself a competitor on the event, and whose company, JLT, is a sponsor for Duncan: “I am delighted that this has been resolved and that Ian can take his rightful place in the entry list.” The manager of the biggest team on the rally is Richard Tuthill who has a dozen Porsches entered one of which was narrowly defeated by Duncan last time: “We are glad to have him in the event. He’s the best rally driver in Africa and great supporter of the Safari Classic.” A similar opinion was voiced by Phil Mills who also has a multi-car team in the Safari: “It’s good to see Ian in the event. It will take a lot of hard work to get his car into RS3100 specification. All the teams will be rooting for him to come with what we are certain will be a competitive rally car.”
The organisers too have been hard at work behind the scenes to seal this deal. The Event Director, Raju Kishinani, said that: “It is really great to have Ian in our rally. Of the six Safari Classic Rallies run so far, four have been won by East African drivers so Ian’s entry is bound to keep alive the eternal question as to whether an overseas driver can beat the locals on East African roads.”