Day 3: A Perfect Day of Rallying

Swedish racing ace Richard Goransson in car no 6, a Porsche 911 achieved the fastest time in CS7, the opening stage for Day 3, clocking 43.23 against Stig Blomqvist’s 45:20 in the first section of the day. “We caught Stig in the dust and managed to take back about two minutes in the first section, even though sometimes we found the navigation more tricky. There were moments where we had to decide from several tracks, but it was still a result,” said his navigator Emil Axelsson.

But the venerable Stig remains ahead, at the end of Day 3 with provisional times for CS7 and CS9, of just 76:11. “A sweet day,” said the enigmatic rally champ. The top ten cars are again Porsche 911’s with Gregoire de Mevius, Alistair Cavanagh, Onkar S Rai, and Joakim Roman taking 3rd, 4th, and 5th respectively.

Forty-three cars started the third day of the East African Classic Safari Rally, leaving Amboseli for two of the most delightful sections of the Safari (CS8 was cancelled last night owing to excessive water and difficult conditions). As the drivers returned to the service park, the overwhelming impression given was of two thrilling stages. “This is what rally is about,” said car no 36’s Aslam Khan, “the car’s are working, the notes are great, you just feel the whole process.”

Car 33, Jonathan Somen/Richard Hechle agreed. “Today was twisty, flowing, backsliding. Real Ford Escort territory. We had no problems.”

But not everyone found it so smooth. Car 23, a Ford Escort 1800 was forced to stop when their radiator blew up at the start of the first stage and they had to be towed. Others had minor issues. “We lost 15 minutes due to dirty fuel which we had to remove, and then we couldn’t start the car at the beginning of CS9 so we lost another 15 minutes there,” said Michael Kahlfuss, as he steered his very popular Trabant back to the service park.

Samit Gehlot in car 38 had a bad start today when their distributor didn’t work and missed the full first stage and took maximum penalty. “You really realise how good rally is when you are forced to miss a stage,” he said.

Raaji Bharij’s Ford Escort suffered a comedy of errors. “Within 30km I caught the car in front of me, overtook and caught the next car. Then I got to the mud hole and forgot that I was in a two-wheel drive went into the river crossing too slowly and was stuck. The towrope kept breaking and so we lost about 10 minutes in that stage.”

The river and mud hole provided most of the entertainment of the day with most cars splashing through without much incident, watched by spectators including local Maasai. At one point the tow truck, who pulled out a couple of Porsche’s, Datsun’s and the Escort got stuck itself and had to be towed.

In other news, Car 19, BMA’s Francois Kicq’s Porsche 911 is out of the rally following an injury to his neck, when he hit a ditch during the 5th section on Day 2, while Bernard Kessel is attempting to restart his  Porsche 911 after his engine failed yesterday and Tuthill’s continue to attempt to rebuild Roger Samuelsson’s Porsche after their accident on the first stage on Day 1.

Day 3 Amboseli – Quotes from Crews

3       Stig Blomqvist                 TBA                                      Porsche 911
It was a sweet section. We had no problems getting round.

5       Carl Tundo                       Tim Jessop                       Triumph TR7 V8
The steering wheel caused us more trouble. But other than that it was a relatively clean run

6       Richard Goransson       Emil Axelsson                   Porsche 911
It was a good day and we made a very good time on the first stage. We caught Stig in the dust so we managed to take back almost 2 minutes. The navigation on both stages was more tricky where the on the savahhan its can be hard to work out from the tracks which is the right way to do.

10     Alastair Cavenagh          Gavin Laurence                Porsche 911
First stage was fine but we got lost for a minute and a half at one point which I know would drop our time.

15     David von Schinkel         Per Bjorkman                    Porsche 911
We got stuck once on the first stage and had to wait for 15 minutes for a Ford to get through the water. But he was helpful. We regret our mistakes yesterday (they crashed) and are a bit tired, but we did alright.

21     Raaji Bharij                      Ranjeet Sehmi                  Ford Escort
Within 30km I caught the car in front of me, caught the car again. Got to the mud hole and forgot that I was in a two wheel drive went into the river crossing too slowly. The towrope kept breaking and so we lost about 10 minutes in that stage. It was a comedy of errors. The ratchet strap in the back also broke. We thought it was our shock absorbers so we slowed down . We got to service and opened the boot and discovered it was two tyres and a jack flapping around, so we lost a lot of time on the first stage. We drove well on the second and our aim for the Classic is to be the top Ford Escort, and I think we were today.

22     Jonathan Savage           Kieran Day                         Datsun 260Z
Some well-dressed local directed us the wrong way so we went left at the river, got stuck and now we are smothered in mud.

27     Paul Darrouzet                Glenn Macneall                 Datsun 260Z
We have to think ahead today and count it well before. The notes were great. We thought the water splash would be worse but all worked well. Car is coughing and spluttering a bit, but we can mend that.

29     Nick Mason                      Harpal Sudle                     Datsun 240Z
We took it easy and had a better day today, more relaxed and in tune with each other.

30     Frank Tundo                    Natasha Tundo                 Triumph TR7 V8
So beautiful, both of those sections. A bit short with one section cancelled, but just really cool. I could run them twice.

32     Gilberto Sandretto          Fabrizia Pons                    Porsche 911
We spun after the river in a big mud hole. We were so pleased to get through the river and then we hit that.

33     Jonathan Somen            Richard Hechle                 Ford Escort
Fine and no problems. I wasn’t feeling very well so we took it quite easy on the first stage. The second was a lot of fun, twisty and backsliding out. It was Escort country.

36     Aslam Khan                     Arshad Khan                     Porsche 911
Positive day. No problems today at all. Was a nice rally, the way it should be. Cars behaving, notes are working, feeling the rally. It’s all about feeling really.

38     Samit Gehlot                   Asit Patel                            Ford Escort
Bad start today. Our distributor didn’t work so we missed the full first stage and we take maximum penalty. Next stage was good. Makes you appreciate the rally, when you have to sit and wait out a section.

39     Kurt Dujardyn                  Jacques Castelein           Porsche 911
Wonderful day for us. Very enjoyable.

44     Arron Banks                     Tim Chesser                     Ford Escort
Good – but we ran out of water in the washer bottle and so I couldn’t see at all. We did stop a couple of times and eventually we stopped long enough for the car behind to catch us up.

49     Michael Kahlfuss            Ronald Bauer                    Trabant 601R
The fuel was dirty so we had to remove the fuel, which took 15 minutes. At the start of the 2nd we couldn’t start the car. Another 15 minutes again. Cars running now like before. New spark plugs. I first rallied this car in 1994 and so it’s really a classic.

50     Kishan Bhanderi            Tim Mammen                    Datsun 1600S
It was fun, but we still have some of the gremlins from the prop shaft we broke yesterday. This is the best day we have done. It’s hard to drive fast as it overheats. It’s Alaskan. We have to get this to the finish line, so we need to nurse it a bit.

52     Nish Lakhani                   Teeku Patel                       Datsun SSS 1800
After our repairs yesterday, which took us until 3am to fix, we took it easy. We had a clean run, no problems and didn’t get stuck in the mud

53     Navraj Sagoo                  Harneel Singh Sagoo      Datsun 260Z
We made some mistakes and in one section they had blocked the road, so we thought we were in the wrong place. But better than yesterday when we didn’t finish. We broke the wheel studs behind and it took 6 hours to be rescued, because the management van broke down and the service van got stuck. We only got in at 8am this morning.