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Kris Rosenberger won the East African classic Safari Rally at his first attempt, driving a Porsche 911. Rosenberger was in contention for the win from the outset of the event. He led at the halfway mark and was briefly overhauled by Stig Blomqvist on day eight. The pair were separated by a mere six seconds going into the final day, which was shortened after the second section had to be cancelled due to adverse weather. Rosenberger won the section by over a minute and a half, whilst Stig suffered late dramas with brake failure on the road section to the final stage of the rally. The former World Rally Champion then went off the road and rolled over onto his roof and back onto his wheels. He was able to rejoin the main highway and carry on to the final section and complete the rally in second position, for the third time!

Kris Rosenberger celebrates his win in the 2019 East African Safari Rally. Photo: Geoff Mayes

The rally was plagued by all sorts of challenges due to an incredible amount of rain in the weeks leading up to the event, and during the first few days of the rally itself. Day three of the rally, which went from Arusha to Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro crater and back to Arusha, had to be cancelled whilst the first cars were on the start line. This was due to two separate flash flood incidents which totally washed away bridges and the rally route. 20 cars started and 16 finished.

Welshman Osian Pryce drove the only Ford Escort on the event. Photo: Geoff Mayes

Star of the show was JWRC driver, Welshman Osian Pryce, who put together a very last minute deal to contest the event, his first in Africa, at the wheel of a Team Oman Ford Escort. He won the first and last sections of the rally, as well as another two stage victories throughout the event. Broken steering and a damaged ball joint ended his chances of a good result and he was eventually placed inside the top 10. Ian Duncan made a debut in a Rover Vitesse, won two stages but also had to rebuild his engine twice! 2017 winner Flash Tundo did not enter the rally, whilst Ryan Champion, who shared the 2017 victory, completed the 2019 edition as a co-driver and was fighting for a podium position when his driver damaged the car heavily on day eight. Only one Datsun 240Z, one 160J (Stanza), one Nissan 240RS, one Rover Vitesse and one Ford Escort started. The rest of the cars were Porsches!
  • Event information provided by Geoff Mayes
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