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Who to Watch in the 2012 Australasian Safari
Thursday, 20 September 2012
Hardened international motorsport champions, rally racing veterans and young motorsport stars of the future will be hitting the West Australian outback for the 2012 Australasian Safari.

This year’s Safari, from 21 to 29 September, has a significantly increased field of auto entries, a new side-by-side category, and the new Dakar Challenge competition where one moto rider will win a free entry to Dakar 2013.

Key competitors to follow include five-time Australasian Safari champion and off road racing veteran Bruce Garland who is back after missing last year due to an injury from Dakar 2011 and a heart attack which resulted in bypass surgery. Bruce’s long-time co-driver Harry Suzuki will again be keeping him on course, driving a diesel Isuzu D-MAX and is determined to be the first diesel to win Safari.

Young Thai singer and TV star Kiatkamol Lata (known as Tui AF3) will compete in his first Safari, alongside teammate Rachan Trairat who tackled the race for the first time last year. Both will also be competing in Isuzu D-MAX utes, while Dakar competitor, Venezuelan Nunzio Coffaro, will be driving a Prototype Toyota Hilux.

Geoff Olholm and John Hederics are firing up a 20-year old rivalry, except this time they’ll each be racing on four wheels. Olholm (Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort Racing Team) and Hederics (Team PWR Holden) were moto rivals over two decades ago when Hederics placed first and Olholm second at the 1992 Australasian Safari which raced from Sydney to Darwin. Hederics holds a record number of Safari wins - six in moto and three in auto and is back competing after a four year hiatus. Geoff Olholm has made a name for himself overseas in recent years, competing in the Dakar in 2011 and 2012 with a planned start for 2013.

Australian rally champion, Perth’s Rob Herridge, is back for his second Safari, flying the flag for Subaru and Maximum Motorsport in the Production class. He won his class in 2011.

John Purshouse came out of nowhere to claim second place last year, and is a strong contender this year with an improved vehicle benefiting from more preparation and testing.

Mitsubishi Pajero and Isuzu D-MAX are the most popular choices for our auto competitors. Other vehicles entered are Mitsubishi Triton, Holden Colorado, Volkswagen Amarok, Subaru Forrester, Toyota Hilux and a Datsun 260Z.

For a full competitor list and more details visit www.australasiansafari.com.au.

Source: Australasian Safari
Photographer: Australasian Safari