Day 4: Safari Rally reaches Tanzania

After a long, challenging day rallying from Amboseli, Kenya through to Tanzania, Stig Blomqvist’s blue Porsche 911 was the first to arrive into the service park at Mto wa Mbu despite having to fix several punctures during today’s 415km of driving. He was followed on the road by Carl Tundo’s Triumph TR7 which bent its rear axle when it hit a couple of ditches. Tundo wound up in 5th place with a time of 131.05 and was one of four Kenyans in the top 10 leader board, that included other locals Cavanagh, and brothers Onkar and Tejveer Rai.

Lowering clouds and rain on the border heralded a possibly wet day of driving at this midpoint in the rally, but it quickly cleared leaving decent conditions and dry fast roads. “We put mud tyres on the car,” said Andrew Sidall in Car no 12, a Datsun 260Z who finished in 9th place with a time of 132.13. “We were at a disadvantage until we were able to change to standard ones in the final section.” They also broke a shock absorber early on in the second section.

For many it was was a tyre-chewing day. Car no 6 Richard Goransson’s Porsche lost time in the third stage with their puncture but still managed to retain second position just a minute behind his Team Tido compatriot Blomqvist.  Geoff Bell’s Datsun 260Z, had to stop three times to change tyres, more in one day than he’s had to in his past two classic rally experiences. Alistair Cavanagh and Bernard Munster’s Porsches and Jonathan Savage’s Datsun also had punctures. But the biggest tyre trauma went to Richard Jackson in car 25, who scrubbed his back tyres down to the canvas in CS11 section.

A number of drivers struggled with navigation in the CS12, the final stage. Multiple tracks led to numerous errors. Car no 2 of de Mevius went some 3kms the wrong way, which cut into their time. “We crossed the river 50 metres from when we should and went the wrong direction for some time, which we are upset about, as on our return the marshal’s were directing people to the correct route. Being car 2 on the road meant we couldn’t’ follow tracks either, ” said de Mevius. They are in third position with a time of 131:16.

In other incidents Car 44 upended into a washaway ditch so severely they were unable to turn the steering to the right, using the handbrake to do so for the rest of the day. Car 8, Onkar Rai lost power in the second section, which affected their performance, but still earned them eighth place. Tundo Senior in car no 30 experienced a stunt-like mishap when his car almost went over a cliff on a hairpin bend in section 3, CS12. They were saved by a small tree and teetered precariously until they were pulled backwards back onto the road.

Perhaps one of the most unfortunate incidents was not driving related. Kenyan Raaji Bharij, a privateer who built and worked on this own Ford Escort had his wrist trapped between the door and the roll cage when an overly helpful spectator slammed the door of his car, trapping his arm. With a suspected fracture, his ability to continue in the rally hangs in the balance as it reaches the midway stage.

Day 4 Crew Quotes

2       Gregoire de Mevius        Nicolas Gilsoul                 Porsche 911
First two sections were great. The last section was a problem because we got lost. A tractor was stuck, there were many people and a lot of different lines and we crossed the river 50 meters after the right place and went the wrong way for about 2-3kms. When we came back the Marshall had put plastic, and we were upset because they hadn’t indicated it to us, as we were car 2 on the road.

3       Stig Blomqvist                 Stephane Prevot               Porsche 911
We had a puncture on the front tyre and the rear tyres. The second stage was more eventful. I think I have done some of it before, it does looks familiar. A few others had problems as well so I consider ourselves lucky to come in as we did.

5       Carl Tundo                       Tim Jessop                       Triumph TR7 V8
Tough day, we bent the rear axle hitting two ditches. Rear wheel bearing about to give way. But otherwise a clean run. The second stage was fast and smooth then lots of rough ditches. Lots of fun.

6       Richard Goransson       Emil Axelsson                   Porsche 911
It’s a bit tricky. No tracks and when you are not used to that it’s a bit special. Plenty of washaways, which were difficult. We tried to keep it safe as ever but unfortunately we had a puncture in the last stage and lost some time there. Terrain of course is completely different to being a racing driver. Here in Tanzania, more hard terrain, more rough stones, but all is well.

7       Geoff Bell                         Tim Challen                       Datsun 260Z
We got a puncture within the first 5kms, and then as soon as we got going we got stuck in some mud. In the next section we broke the diff and in the last section we got 2 punctures, so we had to slow down as we didn’t have any spares.  We have changed more tyres today than I have managed in two safaris.

8       Onkar S. Rai                    Baldev S. Chager             Porsche 911
Stage 1 was ok, we got lost for 200 metres and then we got stuck. Stage 2 started well then half way through the car lost power. Same for section 3, and we just made it with a minute to space to the parc ferme. Not sure what’s wrong and hope we can sort it tomorrow

10     Alastair Cavenagh          Gavin Laurence                Porsche 911
Third stage we had a puncture, second stage was good. We had done a bit of this during a Tanzania rally in August. First day has been our best day so far, but otherwise we have had a problem every day, which is quite unusual.

12     Andrew Siddall                Carl Williamson                Datsun 260Z
We had mud tyres on the front and it was hard dry so we were at a disadvantage. We had a nice run for the second stage until a rear shock absorber broke and for the last 30kms we had to take it sensibly. We changed tyres for the final stage, which we found really tricky – hard to see where we were going. And we haven’t had a puncture today, so we were thrilled not to have to change a tyre today.

14     Matthais Kahle                Thomas Schunemann    Datsun 260Z
We had everything happen in this rally – my daughter rolled her car in Mombasa, the navigator has a burnt foot, and the driver probably has a broken arm. We missed the first day because we had problems with the plane due to a bird flying into the engine and today was very hard. So now we hope that it will be better from this moment on.

15     David von Schinkel         Per Bjorkman                    Porsche 911
It has been a tricky day. At the start of the first stage, I got stuck and spun around, and I said the navigator was wrong and took another way. Then the clutch went, so we had to be very careful in the last two stages.

17     Joakim Roman               Jorgen Fornander            Porsche 911
Second stage half the stage I the dust. WE got lost ourselves and lost about 10 minutes. It was a really shit day

21     Raaji Bharij                      Ranjeet Sehmi                  Ford Escort
Someone trying to help me managed to close my wrist between the door and the roll cage. Broken that before in two places before in a motorbike event so it seems to have damaged that. I have to wait until tomorrow to see if I can continue.

22     Jonathan Savage           Kieran Day                         Datsun 260Z
Did do well, lost a bit of time at the first river crossing, which cost us 6-7 minutes. We did get one puncture. Some tricky elements, but here we are.

23     Jorge Perez Companc  Jose Volta                          Ford Escort RS 1800
Today we had a perfect day, came straight through. A good day, after two tough days when we rolled a few days ago and then had the engine overheat, we are happy to have had a smooth run today

24     Steve Troman                  Calvin Cooledge               Porsche 911
Interesting day, the last stage was really tough. Difficult to try to locate the correct roads. Very rough and hard to navigate. You had to be carefully to make sure you got the right road.

25     Richard Jackson           Ryan Champion               Porsche 911
First stage we came out the river crossing and had a bit of a spin, then we got lost without diverting so we had to come back on ourselves. Then we had another little spin through a mud hole. Then in the very long stage we completely scrubbed the back tyres off down to the canvas and had to keep going very gently. But a good day regardless

28     Marzio Kravos                  Crispin Sassoon              Ferrari
Man it was rough, horrible. Stone, hard, backbreaking. It has bent the steering a bit, which means a fair bit of work tomorrow.

30     Frank Tundo                    Natasha Tundo                 Triumph TR7 V8
WE nearly fell down a cliff on the hairpin bends on the last section, we were being held up by a tree, had to be pushed and it seems like it was going to slide over the cliff. Eventually we were pulled out backwards.

32     Gilberto Sandretto          Fabrizia Pons                    Porsche 911
Good day uneventful, lovely riding around the mountain. We did get stuck a few times; the car jumps to the right, but a much better day.

33     Jonathan Somen            Richard Hechle                 Ford Escort
No complaints, no issues. Happy also because Last year we ended every day on the end of a toe rope, so it’s a new experience for us to complete every day

36     Aslam Khan                     Arshad Khan                     Porsche 911
Last two stages were rough, especially the last one.

37     Simon  Connolly             Francis Connolly              Porsche 911
It’s entertaining but the roads are so much rougher and the rocks bigger than we thought. I don’t know why the tyres don’t explode and the suspension doesn’t break in half.

38     Samit Gehlot                   Asit Patel                            Ford Escort
Happy to have completed all. Makes you appreciate the whole thing. Only small moments like stopping in the river for a few moments and almost stalling when overtaking.

39     Kurt Dujardyn                  Jacques Castelein           Porsche 911
We missed a fork left and we lost 5-7 minutes there. Difficult section today. Navigation was a challenge today.

41     Tejveer S. Rai                  Zahir Shah                         Porsche 911
It was good stage, no problems. Hit a few ditches a bit hard, but survived all that. We have managed to stay in the top 15, which was our goal.