Ian Duncan and Amaar Slatch continued their consistent drive on the Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally 2013 by setting second and third fastest times on the two competitive sections held today and thus bringing their Ford Capri to the head of a very competitive field. Despite a slight worry that caused them to change a drive shaft between the two competitive sections run today, their minds are focussed on the one minute advantage they have over Stig Blomqvist and the fact that, as rally leader, they have to run first on the road through the sections tomorrow.
One disappointment for the rally organisers was that they had to convert the third competitive section that was to have been run today into an ordinary road section set at 60 kph. This had to be done as the landowner in the middle of the 60 km Kwasadala section had to withdraw permission to use his 7 km or road due to safety measures involving his use of that part of the route and land around it. This was also a disappointment for lots of spectators who had come out to watch the rally cars driving fast.
The first section today had been another forty-kilometre dash through the tight and twisty roads of the Taita Hills where Gregoire de Mevius set fastest time with his BMA Porsche 911, eighteen seconds faster than Duncan. On the long one hundred and twenty kilometre section across the plains to the north of Mount Kilimanjaro that followed, it was ex-World Rally Champion, Björn Waldegård who took fastest time in his Team Tidö Porsche 911. That was enough to confirm him in third place overall less than a minute and half behind his teammate (and also ex-World Rally Champion) Stig Blomqvist who lies second overall at the end of the day.
The long second section proved to be tricky for several people on the navigation front with two of the Viking Motorsport Ford Escorts – John Lloyd and Jorge Perez Companc – missing an early turn to the left and both losing almost quarter of an hour before returning to the correct route. Later in that stage, it proved fatal to the hopes of another Viking Escort when Alastair Cavenagh/Carl Tundo broke their front steering arm and came to a halt. And this stage was not yet finished with its tricks as more than half way through, there was another left-hand turning that several people missed including two of the Kronos Vintage Porsches of Jean-Pierre Mondron and Gérard Brianti though these were more a question of overshoots than a major wrong-slot. Unluckiest crew of all were Joakim Roman/Jorgen Fornander driving a Tuthill-prepared Porsche 911 who managed to overshoot at both left-hand turns but with a minimal loss of time.
Tomorrow – Saturday – the route lies entirely in Tanzania and goes south of the night halt at Arusha taking in a competitive section of nearly 160 km and then goes into the area around Lake Manyara for two more competitive sections before returning to Arusha for Friday evening.
Quotes from top 6:
Car no. 3 Ian Duncan/Amaar Slatch Ford Capri 3-litre
Happy with today and also the news that we are leading although I am not absolutely sure that we want to be first on the road tomorrow. This morning, it was foggy uphill in the Taitas and then damp afterwards. No real problems with the car. We heard a noise and changed a rear drive shaft between the two stages today. The noise went away to start with but it is back again now. So we hope that it is one of those funny noises that comes and goes and is just a noise ! Oh yes, and we actually did take wrong road today, but it was in the last section that was not competitive and frankly, neither of us were concentrating…
Car no. 5 Stig Blomqvist/Staffan Parmander Porsche 911 [Team Tidö]
It was cooler today and thus more enjoyable. We had a brake problem most of the day. It is something to do with the twin master cylinders operated by the brake pedal. It was OK when the pads were new when we started this morning but then it got worse and we only had front brakes towards the end of the day. The Tuthill boys will try to fix it now in service.
Car no. 1 Björn Waldegård/Mathias Waldegård Porsche 911 [Team Tidö]
They say we were quickest on the long stage today. Well, we have to show them that we are not giving up! No problems with the car, which is going really well. And one good thing is that Mathias, who has been suffering from motion sickness almost from the start has now found his ‘rally legs’ and he was able to fully enjoy the long stage.
Car no. 2 Gregoire de Mevius/Alain Guehennec Porsche 911 [BMA]
The first stage today was really nice, probably because it was very slightly damp and we were very pleased to have set fastest time. But on the second, towards the end I was convinced that we had a slow puncture at the rear and slowed up a bit. In fact, we had bent the wheel rim and it was just touching the brake calliper as it went round. We also saw a lot of animals on that long stage. At one point, we were in close company with two giraffe who were running with us. I was worried that one might try to step over the Porsche to join the other but fortunately that didn’t happen. We also saw a large herd of Wildebeest but they were not close to the road.
Car no. 6 Gérard Marcy/Stéphane Prévot Porsche 911 [Tuthill prep]
Nice start to the day, little bit of fog and then a damp road through the mountain. Really enjoyable though our suspension was a bit harsh and the car was understeering slightly. The long section was OK with maybe only four kilometres of real rough going in the middle. There were a lot of animals but never any problem to us. We are trying to drive at 90% and we think we are succeeding to keep that right pace that will give us a chance to win at the finish.
Car no. 10 Bernard Munster/Johan Gitsels Porsche 911 [BMA]
I really kick myself that I didn’t know to go a bit quicker on the very first stage yesterday. But we are speeding up quite nicely. I was hoping to make that long stage my second fastest stage time but we caught Geoff Bell some kilometres before the finish and in all that dust there is only one good strategy – stay behind. But I was only ten seconds slower than the fastest man, Waldegård, so I am really very pleased.