Day 2: Dust, Long Drives and Ditches

As cars raced towards Amboseli on the second day of the East African Safari Classic, the leader at each Section’s time-control changed througout the day, on this, the longest stage of the nine-day rally.

In the lead time-wise during the first section of the day were Siddall/Williamson in their Datsun 260Z, a personal best for the British driver who clocked a time of 60:42. He slipped to 12th place overall by the end, as the Porsche 911’s of no 3 Blomqvist/Prevot and fellow Swede Goransson/Axelsson in car no 6 fought through the second and third sections, with Blomqvist capturing the time record in Section five and Goransson first through the door at the end of the day’s Section six.

But results for the day show that Blomqvist’s overall time over the two days places him at the top of the leader board, followed by Goransson in second  and Gregoire de Mevius in third. In fact Porsche 911’s dominate the first seven places with eighth going to Carl Tundo’s Triumph TR7.

The driving on the second day encompasses some 518kms with 212kms of competitive section and 306kms sections of road, and by all accounts was some of the roughest driving experienced so far. Bumpy rocky terrain and difficult truck-filled transports made the day exceptionally taxing for some.  Car 17, Joakim Roman, likened these first two days to the equivalent of five or six days rallying in other years, but his performance was still enough to place him fifth.

The day saw plenty of other action that continued to extract a toll on the drivers and cars. Alistair Cavanagh who led on day one ended up in a mud hole through driver error and lost valuable time.  Gilberto Sandretto in car 32 with Fabrizia Pons suffered a similar time loss when they went into a ditch at 30kms an hour and spent 25 minutes getting out, as did Aslam Khan’s Porsche 911 when he hit a rough patch of black cotton soil and took 15 minutes to extract himself. Nish Lakhani in Car 52 also hit a mud hole, but their main problem was banging the sump, which meant a slow limp to the end of Section 6.

Other drivers had wilder accidents. The dashing Swedish pairing of Johansson and Adeilsson in car no 16 also hit a ditch, smashed the navigator side of the car, lost a wheel and drove for 70kms on three wheels and the plates of the car on one side. “The mechanics did a great job of repairing it,” said the duo, who was placed in 36th position after their daring drive.

David von Schinkel’s Porsche 911 rolled onto its back after its high-speed encounter with a ditch. And car no 23, The Ford Escort of Jorge Perez Companc landed upside down in a ditch after catching a stone, and was helped back upright onto the road, where they changed two tyres and carried on.

Less lucky were Car 53 Sagoo/Sagoo’s Datsun 260Z, and Car 42 Bamrah/Jutley240Z who broke down in Section four. Bernard Kessel, the rally’s oldest driver at 77 years old in car 45, Porsche 911 blew his engine and went out for the day.

Final kudos goes to cars no 52 or Lakhani/Patel and the Ferrari of Kravos/Sassoon for supplying car no 38, Gehlot’s Ford Escort with enough fuel to complete the stage when their service car got caught in Mombasa Road traffic.

2       Gregoire de Mevius        Nicolas Gilsoul                 Porsche 911
During the stages we did OK and made good speeds but we had problems in the traffic to get to the stage. We got stuck with trucks so we took on some road penalty there, and we took some more when we had to change our beeper at the start after the car was flooded yesterday. But for the rest, it’s fine

5       Carl Tundo                       Tim Jessop                       Triumph TR7 V8
First stage was all right, although we keep on messing up the rear rubbers and I think on the last stage the alternator went and the car is overheating. We got caught in the water yesterday and its caused problems. But when we are going things seems to go really nicely. It’s an awesome car with so much torque.

6       Richard Goransson       Emil Axelsson                   Porsche 911
We didn’t take too much risk, because last time (2013) we tried to be too quick and we broke our cars. This time we played more safe, and here we are. It’s been a long leg but not so many special stages. It is quite a difference from yesterday’s coast based driving which was smooth, but here more its more rocky and twisty and quite hard for the car.

8       Onkar S. Rai                    Baldev S. Chager             Porsche 911
First two stages Chager drove. We got stuck in the dust behind a couple of cars and the terrain was very rough but our local knowledge really helped. The second stage was going well until we found Cavanagh in a mud hole and stopped to help him out. Third stage was very rocky and we didn’t want to break the car.

9       Bernard Munster             Johan Gitsels                    Porsche 911
We are running on two cylinders less, and our engine has no power. We can’t really find the problem – I hope we find it now. The roads sections are too complicated for the service cars. Our truck is still probably about two hours behind. Road sections are also too long. It’s not been an easy day.

10     Alastair Cavenagh          Gavin Laurence                Porsche 911
Not so good today – car performed perfectly. But driver and navigation didn’t. I got stuck us in a mud hole and we got lost a couple of time but had a clean run in the last stage. We have dropped a lot of places I am sure. Car still fine though today

12     Andrew Siddall                Carl Williamson                Datsun 260Z
First two stages were good and I really enjoyed it. Very fast. Final stage we got a puncture, but we were really happy with today. The car’s doing really well, a few bits and pieces  – oil leaking out into the car and rear diff and ignition trouble, but situation normal for the safari rally. There are always some few problems.

14     Matthais Kahle                Thomas Schunemann    Datsun 260Z
Today was wonderful, a little bit too long, and for the transportation part, the time limit was too low so you had to speed. It was a nice day, a little bit of mud. Even the heat was more bearable and people friendly. The car ran perfectly, except Schunemann burnt his right toe from too much heat in the car.

15     David von Schinkel         Per Bjorkman                    Porsche 911
Tough day. We hit a ditch and flew over. Slow motion front over back and then on the side. The car isn’t that badly damaged. Overall it’s a great rally, but it’s been tough. Funny to see Kenya upside down.

16     Christer Johansson       Mattias Adielsson             Porsche 911
Been a rough day today. We hit a ditch with heavy impact and the navigator side smashed up. We then drove 70kms with 3 wheels. The mechanics did a fantastic job and we managed to be here. Was a bit grindy and bumpsy as the car ran on the plates but we kept going.

17     Joakim Roman               Jorgen Fornander            Porsche 911
More cautious today –we tried to stay out of problems but we had wheel-bearing trouble, and then we broke the suspension at the end of the second stage It’s a very hard rally already. It feels as though we have been on the road for five or six days. The time schedule on the road schedule is a problem. Even if you go clean the trucks slow you down.

20     Jan Hagman                   Philip Clarke                      Ford Escort RS 1800
No problems today. Enjoyed the length of the stages, especially the second one. Had to change the steering rack but didn’t lose any time.

21     Raaji Bharij                      Ranjeet Sehmi                  Ford Escort
Much better day than yesterday. First stage was the roughest I have ever done – 90kms of difficulty. We made an uncompetitive time but we got through clean. Next stage was more my stuff – technical and corners. We then had an overheating problem so had to nurse the car for 160kms to get the car here. We had overtaken a lot of cars on the road today, but that changed it.

22     Jonathan Savage           Kieran Day                         Datsun 260Z
We made some good time on the first, and the second stage was perfect – really fast. The final stage just before the control we punctured on the tarmac and couldn’t get the tyre off due to the heat. Then we went into a mud hole and lost six minutes, but we are here

23     Jorge Perez Companc  Jose Volta                          Ford Escort RS 1800
We started with rolling the car in the first stage, we caught a stone in the inside corer and ended up inside a ditch. People helped us back onto the road and we changed two tyres and we start again. After that it was perfect. It cost us time, but we are here.

24     Steve Troman                  Calvin Cooledge               Porsche 911
Very very hard. A long day. The stage this morning was nice, but the last one was really rough. We have found a happy pace and plan to keep at that and don’t take any undue risk, as it’s not a sprint event.

25     Richard Jackson           Ryan Champion               Porsche 911
First two stages were great, brilliant in fact and then on the last stage we ended up trying to avoid a double caution ditch and ended up in a mud hole. Fortunately some guys helped push us out.

26     Jayant Shah                     Ravi Chana                        Porsche 911

Today’s been fantastic. First section was a bit rough. Second section was brilliant -we enjoyed ourselves. A lot of wet patches, and some big ditches but all in all a great day.

27     Paul Darrouzet                Glenn Macneall                 Datsun 260Z
Stage has been good. Liked the speed of the first one. Car is performing very well. Had a lot of mud stuck on the inside of the rim so we stopped to take that out but nothing major. A good day.

28     Marzio Kravos                  Crispin Sassoon              Ferrari
Excellent day. Hasn’t been bad at all. We were fast. Very fast. The car is doing fine. It’s a concourse car, and we are so happy with it. The rough roads didn’t help our arses though. Bumpy.

30     Frank Tundo                    Natasha Tundo                 Triumph TR7 V8
Bit ridiculously rough in some places, but good stages. But everything that we didn’t check yesterday properly broke. The steering went and I broke my hand, and we went flying off the road.

32     Gilberto Sandretto          Fabrizia Pons                    Porsche 911
Was very complicated day because we fell into a ditch at 30kms an hour and lost 25 minutes and damaged the car. But we have made it here and we are happy for that.

33     Jonathan Somen            Richard Hechle                 Ford Escort
No complaints. Car was perfect. The driver and navigator remembered what to do. No complaints, all was good. A long day, but happy with it.

35     Pawel Molgo                    Piotr Domownik                Mercedes 450SLC
Today was like I expected the rally should be. We are really happy with the stages and compared to yesterday it was so much better. I am still confused about the various things from yesterday. Today we had some trouble with the starter and our service crew is still far away, but it was a good run.

36     Aslam Khan                     Arshad Khan                     Porsche 911
Today our luck ran out. I got stuck for about 15 minutes in a place where nobody got stuck. Tried to be a bit cautious, and ended up in black cotton soil. The rear shock absorber is still causing a problem with the car sitting on the left. Then our torsion bar broke but it was close to Taita Hills so we managed to get it fixed. Pretty rough especially with some of the ditches in the last section.

38     Samit Gehlot                   Asit Patel                            Ford Escort
Started well in first stage but then we had a spin over 180 degrees in the second. We were just going too quickly. Our service crew didn’t make any of the service points so we need to thank Nish Lakhani’s team and Marzio Kravos who both gave us 20 litres, which is how we got here today.

39     Kurt Dujardyn                  Jacques Castelein           Porsche 911
Wonderful day today. Everything went right. Marvellous scenery on top of it all. Very pleased.

41     Tejveer S. Rai                  Zahir Shah                         Porsche 911
We been motoring well but having problem with transport times. First two stages we had fun and hoping to keep the car clean and see what we can do from now on.

52     Nish Lakhani                   Teeku Patel                       Datsun SSS 1800
We had accelerator problems and then got stuck in a mud hole and then in the last stage we lost oil. Probably hit the sump quite hard, so limped though to get here, so we are glad to be here. We did well to start, but lost that. All part of the game.