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Zim drivers in Kenya rally

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Two Zimbabwean crews were among the 84 cars flagged off by the Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki as the 59th edition of the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Safari Rally in Kenya’s capital Nairobi Friday.

This year’s KCB Safari Rally is the fourth leg of this year’s eight-legged FIA African Rally Championship series whose first three legs were held in Zimbabwe in March, South Africa in April and Zambia last month.

Defending African Rally champion Jamie Whyte and his co-driver Phil Archenoul (Subaru Impreza) and Conrad Rautenbach and his navigator Nicolas Klinger (G-Fuel Ford Fiesta S2000) are representing Zimbabwe in the rally.

Rautenbach, who won the event in 2007 edition, leads the Zimbabwean charge together having won the first three of the eight rounds of the 2011 FIA ARC series in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Zambia in the past three months.

50-year-old Whyte is also a top contender in Kenya as he is a veteran of many such battles on the continental scene, where he has won the overall championship for the past two seasons.

This season, however, Rautenbach currently leads the African Rally Championship drivers’ standings with Whyte not far behind him in second place.

On the co-drivers’ standings Archenoul and Frenchman Klinger are also in first and second position respectively.

All the 84 cars were expected to go through the scrutineering, with 42 cars enlisted in the main in FIA African Rally Championship class, 22 in the supplementary class and 20 in the two-wheel drive category.

The rally 720 kilometre rally which started yesterday was through the 2,2 kilometre spectator stage yesterday afternoon.

Meanwhile, one of Zimbabwe’s top motorsport officials Ralph Stead is the FIA-appointed chairman of stewards for this month’s KCB Safari Rally.

As the chairman of stewards for this year’s KCB Safari Rally of Kenya, Stead’s main task will be to head a three-man team of stewards who will be overseeing the running of this three-day event.

The stewards will, among other things, handle queries, complaints and protests, if there are any, from the competitors during and after the event.

They will also observe whether the event is being run according to the rules and regulations of international motor rallying.

In fact, the stewards will be acting like referees in football.

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