Former top Zimbabwean motor rally driver Steve Attwell has withdrawn from the tough 2011 Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally starting in Mombasa on Saturday.
Attwell, the father of young motor rally driver Chase, had looked set to come out of retirement to compete in the nine-day event which covers a total competitive distance of 4 000 kilometres.
However according to reports from Kenya yesterday Attwell, who was expected to be co-driven by South Africa’s Eddie Varleque, had to withdraw from the event due to a delay in arrival of spare parts.
He would have been the only Zimbabwean taking part in the event among the 52 crews who have entered to participate.
The veteran Zimbabwean driver was not the only driver to withdraw from the event as South African female driver Lola Varleque, who was as to be navigated by her sister Megan in a VW Golf 1, also withdrew.
“There have been two withdrawals in Lola Varleque of South Africa and Steve Attwell from Zimbabwe due to delay in arrival of spare parts.
Lola was to be navigated by her sister Megan in a VW Golf 1 while their father Eddie Varleque was to navigate Zimbabwe’s Attwell, also in a similar car make,” reported the Nairobi Star yesterday.
The Kenya Airways East Africa Safari Classic starts on Saturday and the rally runs for nine days over a total competitive distance of 4 000 kilometres in the East African country.
The rally is crowded with legendary names, including 1979 World Rally Champion and four-time winner of the Safari Rally Waldegard topping the entry list in a Porsche 911.
The other is 1984 FIA world champion Stig Blomqvist in a Ford Escort with Venezuelan Ana Goni in the navigator’s seat.
Weather conditions are threatening to recreate the wet race of 1977, according to event’s director Surinder Thatthi.
He was informed that the weather pattern indicate another heavy short rainy season in November is in the making, based on the 1997 statistics.With the cars on either front or rear wheel traction, the Safari could be a real test for man and machine if the current rains persist.