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Press Release: Wednesday, 23rd November 2011

AMBOSELI – OL TUKAI LODGE – A PORSCHE-DATSUN-PORSCHE SANDWICH

A Datsun has broken the Porsche 911 stronghold that was leading the Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally. Unfortunately the Porsche 911 of Grégoire de Mévius and Alain Guehennec hit problems 60 km into the first section of the day. The crew, who led the rally on day two and were in second place yesterday, broke the front suspension and had to wait for service. This means that Bjorn and Mathias Waldegård have expanded their lead to nearly forty minutes over the second-placed crew which is now Geoff Bell and Tim Challen in a Datsun 260Z. Third place is the Race4Change team mates of the Waldegårds, Steven Funk and Andrew Doig, in a Porsche 911 who are behind the second-placed Datsun 260Z by another forty minutes. 

Today competitors had the chance to sample some of the section that was cancelled on the second day. The 124 km section started with twisting downhill hairpins followed by a very fast road at the bottom of the Rift Valley. Waldegård set fastest time by nearly three minutes with Steve Perez and Staffan Parmander taking the second fastest time in their Datsun 260Z, whilst third fastest time on this section was set by Stig Blomqvist and Ana Goni in their Ford Escort.

After crossing the border from Tanzania back into Kenya, the second 87 km section was rough with stone corrugation near the end. Perez set fastest time by over 20 seconds from Waldegård. After suffering problems with a broken propshaft on the first day Perez’s Datsun 260Z was flying and, after the second section, he moved up into sixth place behind Blomqvist who suffered clutch problems which were fixed after the second section. Perez is now creeping up on Kick Rally team mate Geoff Bell who took third fastest time on the second section, remaining third place overall.

The third section which was fast and open saw another change of positions in the top three as the Porsche 911 of Gérard Marcy and Stephane Prévot got stuck in a mudhole about half way through the 112 km section. This left overall second place open for Bell to take in his Datsun 260Z behind the overall leader Waldegård who set third fastest time on this final section. “We had brilliant safari stages today,” said Waldegård. “With lots of different landscapes and terrain but it’s a pity Grégoire (de Mévius) had problems – we were having a good fight.” Bell was very pleased to have moved up into overall second place, especially as it meant breaking up the Porsche domination. “We were in Marcy’s dust in the final section and suddenly the dust stopped,” he explained. “And there he was… stuck in a mudhole. Now at least there’s a bit of persity in the top three!” Third place overall had now been taken by Steven Funk and Andrew Doig. “I’m shocked we’re doing so well,” said Funk. “It’s all credit to the car with a bit of lady luck. I had a super day.” After his problems in the mudhole in the last section Marcy slipped down to fourth place with Blomqvist in fifth, despite driving on only three cylinders for the last section.

X-Games hero Travis Pastrana had his last day of the rally today in the third Race4Change Porsche 911 as he will be handing the driving over to former Kenyan Rally Champion Patrick Njiru after tomorrow’s rest halt. Pastrana left on a good note, setting fastest time in the last section. “This rally is absolutely epic,” he said. “One of the best experiences of my life.” Current Kenyan Rally Champion Ian Duncan set second fastest time on the final section in their Ford Capri. Due to a series of problems yesterday, Duncan slipped down the leader board from third place and started in 22nd position this morning. The Kenyan crew suffered a puncture on the first section but were slowly pulling up the field during the day. 

With the rest day tomorrow, the crews will be looking forward to some recuperation whilst the service crews will be spending the day working on the cars. Currently Waldegård’s lead is looking secure but there’s still another four days remaining on a rally that is well-known for its ability to change the fortunes of the crews overnight. As the current leader Waldegård himself says: “The Safari has its own rules.”

 

DAY 4. AMBOSELI – OL TUKAI LODGE – QUOTES FROM THE CREWS

1   Ian Duncan / Amaar Slatch (Ford Capri)

“Today was fine – no real problems apart from a puncture on a rear tyre on the first section”

2   Gerard Marcy / Stephane Prévot (Porsche 911)

“The day was ok. The first two sections were good, but we have tested our suspension and our engine isn’t perfect. In the third section, we received a direction that we could go left around a mud hole but got completely stuck and lost about an hour, maybe more.”

3   Grégoire de Mévius / Alain Guehennec (Porsche 911)

“Not a good day! We broke a front wishbone in the first section and had nearly an hour’s wait as a result. We missed the second section but the third went ok.”

4   Bjorn Waldegård / Mathias Waldegård (Porsche 911)

“We had a good day with no real drama. The first section was brilliant and throughout the day they were real safari sections with lots of different landscapes. Navigationally first section was the most difficult of the rally but my son is a bloody good navigator. The last section was very fast – a nice one!”

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

“Today was not so good. We had problems in the first section and had to change the clutch after the second section. Then the engine was only running on three cylinders for the last section until the last 5 km.”

6   Steve Perez / Staffan Parmander (Datsun 260Z)

“In the first section we hit a big drift and damaged the steering rack and limped out. The next section was fine and the last section we were held up by cattle and went off on the slippery surface and drove straight over a big bush but the car just kept going. However it looks like we gained 5 points on the Gentleman’s World Rally Championship (GWRC), putting us neck and neck with Geoff Bell!”

7   Geoff Bell / Tim Challen (Datsun 260Z)

“On the first section we had no brakes 50 km in as we pulled a brake pipe and we had a puncture on the second section and drove out. The third section was great…we were in Marcy’s dust and suddenly the dust stopped and we saw he was stuck in a mudhole. So now we’re in second place.”

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

Tundo was driving today: “We lost ten minutes at the beginning of the first section when the car wouldn’t start but otherwise no problems. You’ll probably notice the change of driver in the section times!”

9   Andrew Siddall / Mike Borissow (Datsun 260 Z)

“Good day, but testing. We had a bit of a problem with the differential initially but sorted it out, and accidentally set off the fire extinguisher into our bonnet as we arrived at Parc Ferme!”

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

“We did very well until we drove into the back of Thomas Flohr’s overturned car! But all went ok other than that.”

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

“Good day, no hassle. We took a jump too high on the second section and landed pretty hard but learned from it!”

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

“In the slow stuff on the first section we ripped the RA off and bent the steering arm. Then we got stuck in the sand on the last section in the river bed.”

Co-driver Imran Khan added: “And he made me get my trainers wet.”

14   Steven Funk / Travis Clarke / Andrew Doig (Porsche 911)

From Funk who drove the first two sections: “I’m shocked we’re doing so well. All credit to the car and a little bit of lady luck. The first section was incredibly difficult and the second section there were so many jumps I thought it would shake my kidneys out. A super day!”

From Clarke who drove the final section of the day: “It was awesome – way more fun than the other sections I’ve driven – I really felt I was in Africa.”

15   Jürgen Bertl / Bernhard Ettel (Porsche 911)

“Compared with the rest of the rally, today was perfect. We had one puncture and had to stop twice to change a cable, but all in all very good!”

16   Thomas Flohr /Didier Breton (Porsche 911)

17   Steve Troman / Michael Nutt (Porsche 911)

“Good day but lost a bit of time on the last section. Looking forward to the rest day!”

18   Aslam Khan / Arshad Khan (Porsche 911)

“We had a good day. It was rough in places but we took it easy and got through.”

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

“Good day! We got stuck in the first section and lost about 6 minutes but the second and third sections were smooth.”

20   Louis Antonini / Pierre Antonini (Porsche 911)

21   Jayant Shah / Lofty Drews (Datsun 260 Z)

22   Richard Jackson / Preston Ayres (Porsche 911)

“We got stuck in the mud and lost about 10 minutes in the first section, but had to navigate our way through as best we could. The second and third sections were both ok.”

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

“Today was a long day! The first section had perse obstacles like mud, water and rocks. We had to slow down on the second section because there were unpredictable features on the route, and in the third we spent some time finding our way past the Savage brothers, who were stuck in front of us. We saw lots of people stuck in the mud! All in all we were lucky though, and we got through.”

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

“In the first section the wipers stopped working and on the second the brakes went with 57 km to go. Then we had a puncture – probably because we were going so fast with no brakes! The last section we had no problems – nothing broke on the car and the section was really fast with lots of jumps. This rally is absolutely epic – one of the best experiences of my life.”

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

“We got lost on the first section and had a puncture later. The rest was rough but we got through, and all in all it was a good day.”

26   Marzio Kravos / Renzo Bernardi (Mercedes 450 SLC)

“We broke the right hand stub axle 19 km into the first section but fixed it in the section and battled the rest of the day which was good.”

27   Rommy Bamrah / Harvey Jutley (Datsun 260Z)

“The rally has been ok so far! We had a good day, and didn’t get stuck anywhere.”

28   Nick Mason / Alex Horsey (Datsun 260Z)

“Wonderful – absolutely fantastic. The car’s falling apart but otherwise everything is alright!”

29   Albert Michiels / Patrick de Coninck (Porsche 911)

“The day went very well. We lost three quarters of an hour in the first section but had a very smooth run in the afternoon. We are definitely happy!”

31   Jacques Walens / Thierry Lacroix (Porsche 911)

“We are TIRED! But it was a good day. We are gentlemen drivers – so took it easy and smooth!”

32   Kulwinder Sandhu / Harpal Singh Sudle (Datsun P710)

“Not a very good day. We got stuck in the first section – 70 km in where the zero car got stuck earlier. And in the last section we were stuck behind the Savages for 25 minutes. In addition a guinea fowl hit the windscreen and broke it – they’re very stubborn birds!”

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

“We had an alright day. It was really good until the last section where the Savages were stuck. We showed all the other competitors the way through but then they just continued and left us to tow out the Savages… which we did since we are proper gentlemen! We also managed a bit of bird watching and saw an ostrich, a yellow bearded something (sorry the press officer couldn’t read her own writing!), a pied crow, a magpie and a kite.”

34   Jac Nellemann / Joseph Huber (Porsche 911)

“Great – we’re here and that’s what matters! We had three punctures – one on each section – and broke an engine mount so we were only drifting through on the last section. There wasn’t too much water or too much mud and we were like “Jumping Jack Flash” over all those bumps.”

35   Minesh Rathod / Sachin Sumaria (Colt Lancer GSR)

“A lovely day. We were behind car 34 for 25 km in the last section which was the second car we caught. Apart from that no problems.”

36   Gunther Kronseder / Gerd Petzold (Mercedes 450SLC)

37   Phillipe Vandromme / Frederic Vivier (Porsche 911)

“This section was very difficult. Three sections were too much, there were lots of different obstacles to be overcome. We’re pretty tired!”

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

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

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

42   Josef Jobst / Uwe Kurtzenberger (Porsche 911)

“Yesterday we broke a torsion bar and driveshaft and the co-driver was also slightly damaged so we’ve had a change of co-driver today! In the first section today we stopped before the mud to see the best way to get through but then we realised we were in the mud! In the third section we lost 5 to 6 minutes stuck behind the Savages in the river.”

43   Peter Stoehr / Crispin Sassoon (Datsun 1600SSS)

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

“It went well, and we had a lot of fun!”

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

“This was the hardest day so far with lots of rocks and bumps. There was a big jump where we took off and came down on the nose – the car is okay but the co-driver needed a large beer when we arrived.”

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

“We had a good day but got stuck in a river about 50 km from the end of the third sectoin and lost nearly an hour. We were helped by the Masai to get on our way again.”

47   Bernhard Kessel / Ronny Kessel (Porsche 911)

48   Paolo Faldini / Nicolas Beech (Porsche 911)

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

“It’s been a long day, and we’ve had better! The sections were long and rough, and we lost some time on the first section getting stuck. But the car is good and we made it through.”

52   Quentin Savage / Russell Savage (Datsun 180B)

“We had a really good first two sections but then we got stuck coming out of the river bed on the last section. Richard and Norris (car 33) pulled us out. Actually they showed all the others through who just carried on and then they pulled us out so we owe them a big thank you.”

 



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