Next year’s London to Cape Town World Cup Rally could set a classic motoring first if the event’s participants make it the length of Africa without the use of airlifts or ships.
Military conflicts, political disputes, droughts and famine have resulted in all previous competitive classic rallies having to deviate from planned routes, but the Endurance Rally Association’s Philip Young is confident his latest epic – which kicks off on New Year’s Day from the Houses of Parliament – will become the first not to use any alternative transport on the African continent.
"The only section of the rally where the cars won’t be driven is from Greece to Alexandria in Egypt,” explained Young, who reckons participants will need to average 370 miles for each of the planned 27 driving days in order to cover the 10,000 miles. "They will cross three continents and 14 countries."
The route includes two forest stages in Kent as well as sections of the Acropolis Rally before crossing into Saudia Arabia, Sudan – followed by Ethiopia and the Rift Valley – before taking in Kenya where the 44 teams will follow parts of the route used by the Safari Rally.
Other highlights include the jungle trails of Tanzania and Zambia – with a stop at the Victoria Falls – while the teams will also drive through Botswana and Nambia before heading for the last timed sections in the Cederberg Mountains outside Cape Town.
More than half the 44 teams entered will drive classics, ranging from Max and James Stephenson in their 1923 Vauxhall OD 23/60 (below, on this year's Peking to Paris rally) to Belgians Joost van Cauwenberge and Jacques Castelein in their 1973 Porsche 911.
Also entered are a couple of Datsun 240Zs and Volvo 144s, along with a quintet of Peugeot 504s. More modern entries include the all-lady crea of Jane Edgington and Gill Cotton in their 1986 Austin Maestro and a 1985 BMW M535i (two below).
See London to Cape Town World Cup Rally for more.