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K1 Speed Competes in 2022 East African Safari Classic!

The K1 Speed Porsche 911 rally car tosses up a plume of dirt on a rally trail

K1 Speed Races in Rally to Promote International Franchise Program

K1 Speed is hitting the road less traveled once again to promote its international franchise. This time, we’re competing in the East African Safari Classic – the very same race that superstar Ken Block, former rallycross driver Patrik Sandell, and Kenyan rally legend Ian Duncan are in! 

 

This is our long-awaited follow up to other successful rallies that K1 Speed has participated in, including the 2019 Peking to Paris Rally, Road to Saigon, and the Baltic Classic. The car we’ll be driving will be the same trusty 1973 Porsche 911 that’s rally-prepped by the renown Tuthill Porsche in the UK (see below).

A Very Brief History of the Safari Rally

Since the late 1950s, the Safari Rally has been regarded as one of the most challenging rallies in the world. The route winds through Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania on incredibly rough roads peppered with razor sharp rocks. And don’t discount the unpredictable weather which can change from searing heat to utter downpours. 

 

From 1973 until 2002 the Safari Rally was part of the World Rally Championship. From 2002 to 2020, it became a regional rally event. And in 2021, it returned to the WRC, which was won by 8-time champion Sébastien Ogier.

The East African Safari Classic

The East African Safari Classic is the reinvention of the Safari Rally for classic cars, evoking the spirit of those legendary races of the past. The event begins on February 10 and runs until the 18th. During those eight days, competitors will travel over 5,000km (over 3,100 miles) across 24 stages. Terrain will vary from rough desert roads to pristine beaches. 

 

Unfortunately, due to COVID, the stages will only take place in Kenya rather than the traditional three countries, but it won’t lessen the experience for the dozens of international and local drivers participating. They’ll visit 11 different counties in the country, and there won’t be any traffic to contend with. Instead, they’ll have to look out for giraffes, elephants, water buffalo and antelopes. 

K1 Speed’s Progress in the Rally!

Leg 1:

On February 10, the East African Safari Classic rally began! K1 Speed is quickly getting accustomed to the rally, with steady progress in each of today’s stages. We finished 17th in the first stage, 13th in the second stage, and 12th in the third stage.

 

While Ken Block leads the overall standings, K1 Speed is in 12th position out of 45 participants. We finished the first day with an overall time of 2 hours, 49 minutes, 47.5 seconds, just under 14 minutes behind Block. While that may seem substantial, remember, this is rallying. Anything can happen – especially when you’re racing in the African desert!

 

For the official highlights of Leg 1, see the video below (and definitely check out our “full send” around 1:46!):

Leg 2:

Just as we closed our last update with “anything can happen”, it did during Leg 2. In the second stage of the leg, Ken Block hit problems and finished 15th, while K1 Speed put their foot down and finished in 9th position – our highest stage finish yet in the rally. As a result, we made up two minutes on Block in that stage alone.

 

At the end of the leg, K1 Speed broke into the overall top 10 with a 10th place position, a gain of two positions! Ken Block has dropped back to fifth place overall, 13 minutes in front of K1 Speed. The overall leader is Kenyan Baldev Chager, 17 minutes ahead. But we’re only getting started..

Leg 3:

 

The third leg saw K1 Speed finish 12th, 11th, and 14th in the three respective stages. Unfortunately for K1 Speed, the man in 12th position after Leg 2 had a strong series of finishes, and knocked K1 Speed out of the Top 10. However, K1 Speed sat in a respectable 11th position overall at the end of the day.

 

Check out the official highlights reel from Leg 3 below!

Leg 4:

 

Set to be the longest day of the rally, the fourth day was certainly a strange one. The first stage went as planned, with K1 Speed finishing uncharacteristically in 19th, and dropped to 12th in the overall standings. However, a bit of confusion occurred in the second stage..

 

A mere 500 yards from the start, Ken Block hit a hole and ripped out his suspension. Meanwhile, officials reported a high level of activity (“unruly spectator behavior that could endanger the drivers and the spectators themselves” according to Kenya Citizen TV) on the route, forcing the cancellation of the second stage. This initially seemed to favor Block – no stage, no loss of time. However, Block instead was given an even worse blow.

 

Since Block used outside help to fix his car after it had started racing, he was dealt the maximum time penalty and dropped to 28th position overall, out of contention for the overall win.

 

The third stage of the day was also cancelled due to activity. So, with Block’s penalty and subsequent drop in the overall standings, K1 Speed has retained 11th in the overall standings. This means we’re now the leading American in the standings since Ken Block is 2.5 hours behind, seventeen positions back.

 

Check out the official highlights reel from Day 4 below to see how the day panned out:

Day 5:

 

Day 5 is a rest day – the only one in the 10-day rally. While K1 Speed’s crew from Tuthill Porsche will be working to make K1 Speed’s Porsche ready for the second half, our fearless driver will have a day to rest his mind and no doubt bruised and battered body.

Day 6:

 

After a day of rest, it was business as usual on Day 6 of the rally, with three uninterrupted stages after the fiasco of Day 4. K1 Speed finished 14th in the first stage, 11th in the second stage, and 15th in the third stage. Defending rally winner Kris Rosenberg in a sister Tuthill Porsche had a terrible second stage, seeing him drop from 4th in the overall standings to 10th, just seven minutes in front of K1 Speed who is still in 11th. K1 Speed stretched its advantage over 12th place, Andrew Siddall, by six minutes and is now in front of the Brit by 11 minutes, 14 seconds.

 

Check out the official highlights reel from Day 6 below to see how the day panned out:

Day 7:

The seventh day wasn’t K1 Speed’s strongest as far as overall stage finishes. We finished 15th in stage one, and 18th in stage 3 (stage 2 was cancelled due to road construction). However, these finishes were enough for K1 Speed to remain just outside the Top 10 in position 11, around 12 minutes behind Rosenberger and still 11 minutes ahead of Siddall.

 

Check out the official highlights reel from Day 7 below to see how the day panned out (and see K1 Speed at the 2:25 mark!) :

Day 8:

The penultimate day of the rally saw K1 Speed take 16th, 11th, and 16th in the three stages, respectively. Thankfully, we didn’t lose any ground to the competition behind us. And a stroke of good luck even came our way. Due to a gearbox failure for 4th place Raaji Bharij, K1 Speed was promoted to 10th position.

 

Now solidly in the Top 10, K1 Speed is looking good heading into the final day of rallying.

 

Check out the official highlights reel from Day 8 below!

Day 9:

Well, as we stated at the beginning of our report, “anything can happen” and it happened yet again for a top contender. Seventh place Evgeny Kireev dropped out of the top 10 in stage 2, which handed K1 Speed 9th position overall and we kept it there until the end! Not bad out of 41 entrants!

 

In total, K1 Speed finished the rally in 17 hours, 58 minutes, and was the top American in the standings!

 

To see the official highlights of the final day, watch the video below!

The K1 Speed East African Safari Rally T-Shirt featuring a blue Porsche 911 on the back

Get the Limited-Edition Rally Shirt!

To celebrate our participation in this incredible racing event, we’re releasing a limited-time t-shirt available online and at select centers. This athletic gray shirt is made from soft, durable, ringspun cotton. It features the East African Safari Classic rally plate on the front left chest, and a terrific illustration of our Porsche 911 rally car tearing up the dirt with a large rally plate in the background. The logos of K1 Speed and its partners are featured on the sleeves of the shirt to complete the racing shirt appearance. If our past rally shirts offer any insight, these shirts will sell out, so be sure to get yours while you can!

Buy The Shirt!

The K1 Speed International Franchise

K1 Speed South Korea
K1 Speed South Korea

K1 Speed’s international franchise program began in 2016 and has seen tremendous success since its inception. As a result, K1 Speed can now be found outside the United States in 12 locations and 6 different countries around the world: Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, South Korea, China, and France

 

K1 Speed is currently accepting applications for additional international locations. For more information, visit our franchise page now!

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