The Safari Rally is considered by many to be the world’s toughest rally between man and machine.
This unique motorsports event emerged from east Africa in 1953; it was run to mark the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Originally travelling though: Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Nairobi was traditionally the start and finish point for the rally with a distance around 6000km over 5 days; Under Extreme heat and wet conditions: 40 degrees and 80 to 90 percent of humidity.
Since 1974, the rally has stayed within the borders of Kenya due to political unrest in the other countries.
The rally was an Irresistible challenge for the manufacturer and the drivers due to road flooding, mud sliding; Rain that could sink the cars in bad weather, and dries in the sun. This is why up to 90 percent of the cars entered in the race never reached the finish line. Rain and mud have not only claimed the vast majority of cars lost in the Safari rally, but the lives of a few drivers and spectators as well.
The event was part of the World Rally Championship calendar for many years until being excluded due to lack of funding and organisation in 2003.
Drivers had always to be vigilant from the hazards of wildlife and farm animals on the course; A huge bird crashed the windscreen of Tommi Mäkinen before he wins the rally in 2001. That years drivers like Dider Oriole, Colin McRae, peter Solberg and others didn’t reach the finish line.
Legendary cars succeeded in the Safary rally: Lancia Stratos, Delta HF Integrale, Toyota Celica, Mini Cooper S, Porsche 911. Datsun 240Z, Audi Quattro, Subaru Impreza, Peugeot 205 turbo, Peugeot 206 wrc, Mitsubishi lancer..
And elite drivers such as:
Colin McRae(1997, 1999, 2002 )
Tommi Mäkinen(1996, 2001)
Richard Burns(1998, 2000)
Juha Kankkunen(1985, 1991, 1993)