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Sixty-six year old navigator Pons ready for fourth Safari Rally appearance

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  • Fabrizia Pons will be competing in her fourth Safari Rally
  • She will be competing in the WRC2 Category
  • The Safari Rally is scheduled for June 23-26

With a scintillating racing career spanning over four decades, 66 year-old Italian navigator Fabrizia Pons continues to appreciate the fabled Safari Rally adventure.

Pons will be back for her fourth WRC Safari Rally and is among the 34 co-drivers listed for the World Rally Championship (WRC) event slated for Naivasha on June 23-26.

The veteran Italian will co-drive Kilifi-based KNRC driver Piero Canobbio who is entered for WRC2 in a Hyundai NG i20 Rally2 car.

Foreigners form the bulk of the ten-car WRC2 field headed by Czech Republic ace Martin Prokop who crashed out of the 2021 event.

Kenyan WRC 2 drivers on the entry list include national rally series leader Karan Patel, Aakif Virani and Rasaji Singh Bharij.

Pons’ comeback this time round will be a special one in the sense that she will be celebrating her 67th birthday on the closing day of Safari on Sunday June 26.

The never-say-never navigator debuted the WRC Safari in 1983 when she guided French legend Michèle Mouton to third overall position in an Audi Quattro A1.

The following year she returned with Mouton in an Audi Quattro A2 but the all-female crew kissed the Safari goodbye with turbo issues.

Pons’ third and last WRC appearance on Kenyan soil happened during the 1998 edition of the Safari where she navigated compatriot Liatti Piero; but the all-Italian crew retired with engine gremlins.

Thereafter, Pons took part in three East African Safari Classic rallies in 2011, 2015 and most recently 2019 before Covid-19 happened.

In the 2011 edition of the East African Safari Classic, Pons teamed up with American stunt performer Travis Pastrana and Kenyan legend Patrick Njiru in a Race4Change Porsche 911 project.

Travis drove the 911 for the first half of the Classic event before handing it over to Njiru who went on to retire from the event.

In the 2015 and 2019 editions of EA Safari Classic, Pons called the pace-notes for compatriot Gilberto Sandretto in a Porsche 911.

At the age of 66, Pons is still remains an active navigator back home. She recently navigated on Rally Storico Campagnolo 2022.

Pons’ will be returning to the iconic WRC Safari 39 years after her debut Safari in 1983 when she guided Mouton to third overall position.

She also guided Mouton to second overall position in the 1982 World Rally Championship behind German Walter Röhrl.

Pons also helped Mouton deliver four WRC victories- the first one being 1981 Rallye Sanremo and thrice in 1982 on Rally de Portugal, Acropolis Rally of Greece and Malboro Rallye do Brasil.

More on Pons:

*WRC Safari Rally Kenya 2022 – Piero Canobbio (driver) -Hyundai i20 R5 (June 23-26)

*East African Safari Classic Rally 2019- Sandretto Gilberto (driver) -911 Tuthill Porsche (personal)

*East African Safari Classic Rally 2015- Sandretto Gilberto (driver) Porsche 911 (11th)

*Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally 2011 – Njiru Patrick/ Travis Pastrana (drivers) -Porsche 911 (Retired)

*WRC Safari Rally Kenya 1998-Liatti Piero (driver) Subaru Impreza S5 WRC ’98 (Engine))

* WRC Marlboro Safari Rally 1984 – Mouton Michèle (driver) Audi Quattro A2 (Turbo)

* WRC Marlboro Safari Rally – Mouton Michèle (driver) Audi Quattro A1 (3rd overall).

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