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Press Release: Tuesday, 22nd November 2011

ARUSHA – MOUNT MERU HOTEL – A BATTLE OF THE PORSCHE 911s

The two leading Porsches of Bjorn Waldegård and Grégoire de Mévius have been swapping positions throughout the third day of the Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally. The first 154 km long competitive section took some casualties, including current Kenyan Rally Champion Ian Duncan who was lying in third place before he was overtaken by one of the rear wheels of his Ford Capri. The wheel studs broke which meant he had to keep swapping them, losing him an hour and a half in the section. “We had to keep stealing them off the other wheels,” he said. “And then they fell off again.”

Grégoire de Mévius and Alain Guehennec set the fastest time on the first section of the day in their Porsche 911, beating Bjorn and Mathias Waldegård by 28 seconds and snatching the overall lead from the Swedish crew. The Waldegård crew had an extra obstacle in this first section in the form a closed barrier whose keeper was absent from their post. “Luckily our horn was working so we eventually got his attention,” said Waldegård. “But we lost some time.” With Duncan temporarily out of the competitive picture, another Porsche 911 moved up into third place at the hands of Gérard Marcy and Stephane Prévot.

The second section of the day started on the flood plains of Lake Manyara at the bottom of the Rift Valley, ending with a very steep, twisty and narrow climb up the escarpment. On this technical section Waldegård was fastest but only by a second from de Mevius, meaning the Belgian driver kept the overall lead, despite the engine on his Porsche 911 cutting out for a few seconds. This was the start of a problem that would end up worsening and costing him the lead. Third fastest on this second section was Stig Blomqvist and Ana Goni in their Ford Escort.

The third section was wider and smoother with much higher speeds, finishing off nearby the gate of the Ngorogoro Crater. Waldegård set fastest time by nearly a minute on this section whilst the electrical problems encountered by de Mevius in the second section exacerbated. “We had a misfire,” he said. “And then 12 km before the end we stopped. We checked everything then removed the rev counter which seemed to solve the problem but we lost a fair amount of time.” This put Waldegård in first place overall by nearly eight minutes from de Mevius. Marcy remained in third place but over twenty minutes behind the top two. “We’re still losing a lot of time because of the low torque,” said the Belgian. “Especially in these more hilly sections but I still love this rally and feel very lucky to be here.” Behind Marcy by only a minute are Geoff Bell and Tim Challen in their Datsun 260Z who have been dicing with the third placed Porsche 911 crew all day. Unfortunately the Ford Capri of Duncan had further problems on the third section, pushing him further down the field.

Luck wasn’t on the side of Thomas Flohr and Didier Breton again today and neither was one of their front wheels for the last five kilometres of the first section. However they drove out of the section with the co-driver re-distributing the weight of the Porsche 911 by standing on the opposite side of the bumper. Travis Pastrana and Fabrizia Pons also suffered wheel problems on the last section when the stub axle sheared and they had to drive the last 60 km of the section on three wheels. Having suffered suspension issues in the first section of the day this has put them down the field. However their Race4Change teammates Bjorn and Mathias Waldegård are now in the lead and another Race4Change car has moved up to fifth place. Today this car was driven by Steven Funk for first two competitive sections and by co-driver Andrew Doig for the last section, giving Mary-Ellen Iskendrian from the Race4Change support crew the chance to co-drive. 

Meanwhile there were several crews climbing up the field, including Stig Blomqvist and Ana Goni who moved up from fifteenth place to seventh place in their Ford Escort. After previous problems, Kick Rally teammates Steve Perez and Andrew Siddall have also been moving up the field in their Datsun 260Zs. In fact they were both equal seventh on the second section – now that’s team work! Perez has moved up eleven places to tenth position.

There are now three Porsche 911s in the top three but it is still only the third day of this amazing rally, which is known for its demands on endurance. With the full 260 of competitive kilometres being run today, the crews will be looking forward to a good rest tonight before they tackle the fourth day that will take in 323 km competitive kilometres before arriving at Ol Tukai lodge in Amboseli.

DAY 3. ARUSHA – MOUNT MERU – QUOTES FROM THE CREWS

1   Ian Duncan / Amaar Slatch (Ford Capri)

“The wheel studs went on the first section so we had to keep stealing them from the other wheels but then they fell off again. The second section was okay and on the third we had problems with the propeller shaft.”

2   Gerard Marcy / Stephane Prévot (Porsche 911)

“Not a good day. We are losing a lot of time in these higher sections with our continuing loss of power. But I still love this rally and feel lucky to be here.”

3   Grégoire de Mévius / Alain Guehennec (Porsche 911)

“A mixed day. The first section was very good and we were nearly equal time with Bjorn on the second section even though the engine cut out for a few seconds. On the third section we started having a misfire and then 12 km before the end we stopped. We checked a number of things then removed the rev counter and it started car but we must have lost at least six or seven minutes.”

4   Bjorn Waldegård / Mathias Waldegård (Porsche 911)

“It was a good day but we had a bit of drama in the first section when we had to pass a barrier and it was closed. We had to get the man’s attention with our horn and must have lost about 10 seconds.”

5   Stig Blomqvist / Ana Goni (Ford Escort RS 1800)

“Today was okay and no problems.”

From Ana Goni: “It was a straightforward day. My back didn’t enjoy that first long section but we survived so I’m happy.”

6   Steve Perez / Staffan Parmander (Datsun 260Z)

“We had a pretty good day. The last section was like driving on ice because it was so slippery on the surface so my Swedish co-driver was very helpful. We encountered lots of animals: cows, wilderbeast and donkeys.”

7   Geoff Bell / Tim Challen (Datsun 260Z)

“The first section was full of adventure: we hit a tree and stopped for a couple of minutes when Marcy passed us. Then we were stuck behind him and eventually got past but just after we overtook there was a 90 right and I didn’t quite make it so we span and got a puncture and then Marcy overtook us again. But we had a nice clean run on the last two sections.”

8   Alastair Cavenagh / Carl Tundo (Ford Escort Mark 2)

“Today was not a good day. The car simply would not start and we had to push-start it all the time. We got late into the first section and stalled it. We had no problems in the second section and spun in the third and stalled the engine again.”

9   Andrew Siddall / Mike Borissow (Datsun 260 Z)

“A brilliant day with three clean sections. I spun on the third section – a big lorry was going round the hairpins and I took my eye off the road. We haven’t had a limited slip differential for the last two days but now we’ve got a proper diff things are a lot better than the last two days.”

10   John Lloyd / Adrian Cavenagh (Ford Escort RS 1800)

“Unfortunately we got lost on the first section and lost twenty five minutes and then the coil went. The last two sections were very good.”

11   Aziz Tejpar / Andy Nagi (Ford Escort Mark 1)

“The first section was a little bit rough, sections two and three were OK. It is all good so far. We have no problems with the car, only with the driver. He is too slow!”

12   Simon Tysoe / Imran Khan (Ford Escort Mark 1)

“We had a good day with no problems. The first section we really enjoyed with a good mix of surfaces. For the other two we slowed down a little to make sure we finished – and enjoy the scenery! We’ve just got to keep going for the rest of the rally.”

14   Steven Funk / Andrew Doig / Mary-Ellen Iskendrian (Porsche 911)

“Awesome! The climb in the mountain was great and really beautiful. Even though I had my eyes fixed on the road I had a sense that it was beautiful! It felt beautiful. The river crossing in the second section was awesome and it was so great to see so many spectators out on the road.”

From Andrew Doig: “That was good fun. Yesterday I gave Mary-Ellen a crash course in co-driving and she seemed to pick it up instantly.”

15   Jürgen Bertl / Bernhard Ettel (Porsche 911)

“We drove into the first section and after 15 kilometres the engine cut off again, it was the same electrical problem that we already had yesterday. Then we were towed back to Arusha by some locals and we gave them some T-shirts. We have done everything to solve the problem and now the car is running again so we will start tomorrow.”

16   Thomas Flohr /Didier Breton (Porsche 911)

“Today we were driving in the dust for a very long time and 5 km from the end of the first section we clipped a wall on the side and ripped off our front left wheel including the brake. Didier then had to stand on the bumper until the finish. After that all went well and we were very fast.”

17   Steve Troman / Michael Nutt (Porsche 911)

“We had a near miss on the first section. There was a double caution ditch that we hit hard and flicked up and landed on the bull bar so it’s a bit mashed up. The other two sections were great.”

Co-driver Michael Nutt added: “I am getting used to it on my second day. We overtook four cars, Steve drove very well.”

18   Aslam Khan / Arshad Khan (Porsche 911)

“Today was very good. We were driving slowly and safely. We did not have any problems. We were just not happy with our starting position, we were too far down the field.”

19   Jean-Pierre Mondron / Nicolas Gilsoul (Porsche 911)

“A nice day with no problems. The first section was very long and the second I remember from 2009.”

20   Louis Antonini / Pierre Antonini (Porsche 911)

The crew didn’t start the day.

21   Jayant Shah / Lofty Drews (Datsun 260 Z)

Jayant and Lofty rolled their Datsun on a very fast section of the third section. When the car came to the end the crew had to crawl out of the passenger’s window. The crew were shaken, stirred but not injured.

22   Richard Jackson / Preston Ayres (Porsche 911)

“We had a good day. We had just two punctures and we stopped once when we saw Paolo (Faldini) standing next to the road with jump leads in his hands. We turned around to help him but he just waved to us to say we should continue.”

23   Thierry de Latre de Bosqueau / Eric Werner (Porsche 911)

“Very nice stages today with a lot of persity in terms of conditions. We discovered that it is very enjoyable to have a day without problems. It was a perfect, beautiful day.”

24   Travis Pastrana / Patrick Njiru / Fabrizia Pons (Porsche 911)

“We only had two kilometres without an issue!  On the first section we blew out the shocks and probably damaged the wheel. In the second section I thought we had problems with the brakes as I could only use the handbrake and then the odometer went. When we went into the third section the whole wheel fell out. We drove out 60 kilometres on three wheels – well Fabrizia drove and I rode on the back to take the weight off the front.”

25   Mark Bentley / Edward Bentley (Ford Escort Mark 1)

“We’re here and that’s the important thing! We took it easy today. The engine was down on power so we think the air filter might have popped but then I might just be paranoid and it might just have been the altitude.”

26   Marzio Kravos / Renzo Bernardi (Mercedes 450SLC)

“For a change we had a great day. It was event-free with nothing exciting to tell. Apart from the fact that Jayant Shah rolled just in front of us. They were okay. Jayant was just climbing out of the window when we passed and Lofty was standing next to the car.”

27   Rommy Bamrah / Harvey Jutley (Datsun 260Z)

“We were running last car on the road and we had a lot of traffic today. But the overtaking was okay. We had a good run and not a problem.”

28   Nick Mason / Alex Horsey (Datsun 260Z)

“Today was just fantastic, we were doing very well. We had a puncture on the first section but apart from that it was all fine. We also stopped to see if Jayant (Shah) and Lofty (Drews) were alright - which they were so we carried on.”

29   Albert Michiels / Patrick de Coninck (Porsche 911)

“We had lots of problems with the shocks and lost a lot of time but now we’re ready for tomorrow.”

31   Jacques Walens / Thierry Lacroix (Porsche 911)

“Absolutely no problems. It was a very good day and a great rally but tomorrow is another day!”

32   Kulwinder Sandhu / Harpal Singh Sudle (Datsun P710)

“Not a bad day at all. The car is fine and we had no problems today. We are just taking it easy.”

33   Richard Arrowsmith / Norris Midwood (Ford Escort Mark 1)

“On the first section, we tried to regain our place from Steve Perez and missed a DNM which cost us about 25 minutes. The second section was brilliant and in the third section the steering wheel came loose so we stopped to tighten it and lost about three minutes. Then we ate Aslam Khan’s dust for 50 km.”

34   Jac Nellemann / Joseph Huber (Porsche 911)

“I think we drove the longest section of all the competitors because we went wrong in the first section and lost about 15 minutes. The navigation was very tricky on that section. Apart from that all went well today.”

35   Minesh Rathod / Sachin Sumaria (Colt Lancer GSR)

“We had no problems at all. All good. The first section was a little bit rough at the start but the other sections were nice.”

37   Phillipe Vandromme / Frederic Vivier (Porsche 911)

“In the first section we went over a tree and were pulled out by a matatu. In the second section there were no problems and the third was the most beautiful section with all the Masai and the fantastic colours.”

38   Jonathan Somen / Richard Hechle (Ford Escort Mark 2)

“Section two was the most incredible section that I have ever done. Unbelievable. We did not have a single problem today, just wonderful. If the next six days are like this I am a happy man.”

39   Ramesh Vishram / Atul Kochhar (Ford Escort Mark 2)

“We rolled the car in the first section. We met a motorcyclist and I had to go off the road to avoid him and rolled then a coil went but we sorted that in the section. There were no problems in the other two sections.”

40   Arron Banks / Tim Chesser (Ford Escort Mark 1)

42   Josef Jobst / Hans Greifenstein (Porsche 911)

Josef Jobst’s Porsche was towed in early. “On section one we went flat out through a dip which we had expected to be 200 metres later. We broke the torsion bar and both drive shafts and also bent the chassis. So there is a lot of work for our mechanics.”

43   Peter Stoehr / Crispin Sassoon (Datsun 1600SSS)

Co-driver Crispin Sassoon got out of the car saying “We just went shopping, we bought a necklace for Peter’s daughter. The stages were lovely I wish the whole rally would be like that. We did not have any problems.”

Peter Stoehr added: “Yes, apart from we broke two rims in the first section and then in the spirit of the event we pulled out Alastair Cavanagh. The last two sections were fantastic.”

44   Kurt A Engelhorn / Johan Nel (Ford Escort Mark 1)

“The most fantastic rally Out of Africa…no in Africa!”

45   Franz Wunderlich / Klaus-Peter Kristek (Porsche 911 )

“Sections two and three were really great to drive. It was just so much fun. We only had a puncture on the front right two kilometres from the finish of section one, so we were a bit lucky. Apart from that all is fine.”

46   Jean-Michel Martin / Ronain Martin (Ford Escort Mark 2)

Jean-Michel and Ronain arrived with the co-driver behind the steering wheel. “We just swapped for the road section. On the stages, Jean-Michel was driving. We had a perfect day with only two punctures on the left which we collected going over one sharp rock. But it was good because we only had to stop once.”

47   Bernhard Kessel / Ronny Kessel (Porsche 911)

48   Paolo Faldini / Nicolas Beech (Porsche 911)

“The first section was wonderful until 7 km before the finish when the alternator failed. It was flat and we had to push the car for 1.5 km before the road went downhill and we could get going again. Sections two and three went well. They were so nice, I wish I could do them again.”

51   Samira Khan / Anita Irwin (Ford Escort Mark 1)

“We were too cautious. We were caught by a couple of guys. But we have done no damage to the car and actually enjoyed it. Especially section one which had a bit of everything.”

52   Quentin Savage / Russell Savage (Datsun 180B)

“We caught up in another crew’s dust in the first section and hit an anthill and broke the front strut and arm. We had to wait for service and didn’t do the last two sections.”

 



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