Safari Rally Day 6: Rough Road to Arusha

As the cars raced from Mto wa Mbu after their gentle rest day and thorough overhaul on day 5, Car no 3 Stig Blomqvist’s Porsche 911 retained his road and points lead over the rest of the cars, zooming out of CS15 after completing the 232kms with no issues. “It was smooth,” said the quiet Swede on return to the service park, “no dramas.” His car, however did require some work due to hitting a rock.

He was followed by his Team Tido stable mate  car no 6 Goransson, chased by BMA-serviced Gregoire de Mevius in car no 2, yet another Porsche. “It was a good day for us. We did the best time in CS13 at 19:28,” said de Mevius. “in the longest section CS14, we caught Alistair Cavanagh  and had to slow to activate the screamer (in car signal system to help overtaking) so we lost some time there.

“On the last stage we also caught Goransson who had stopped to repair a tyre, but it was just as he was taking off, so we had to stay in his dust.”

Conditions were dry on the Sections CS13 to 15 and offered a combination of technical driving, twists and turns, rocky rough sections and long speedy dusty moments.

Unfortunately for Kenyan fans, the cars that presented a challenge to the front-running Porsche’s suffered numerous mishaps. Kenyan Alistair Cavanagh in car no 10, who has consistently pressurised the Team Tido and BMA Porsche’s broke his suspension in the second section of the day.

“We had a bit of a disaster when the torsion bar broke, so we had to drive 50kms with it broken and the whole second section with no suspension at all, which was tough as it was a rough stage. At least we completed, and didn’t get any time penalties.” This pushed Cavanagh to 8th position overall.

And Carl Tundo in his car on 5 Triumph TR7 who is low on the points scale, but high on road pressure also had an unsuccessful day when their half shaft broke in the section second. “The radiator pipe came off, so we were losing coolant, so we had to stop and fill up a couple of times. We have to go for a finish now. That’s our aim.”

Coming through on the road for Kenya were car 41 Tejveer Rai, who had a clean run and wound up in fifth place, and car 21 Raaji Bharij, who was able to start despite his damaged wrist.

A lot of other cars had major challenges over the rough sections, particularly CS14 and CS15.  Car 25 Richard Jackson’s Porsche 911 moved from fourth to 17th, taking a penalty for not completing the final section. Car no 12’s Datsun 260Z Andrew Sidall had three punctures in CS14 and ran out of tyres before were forced to retire for the day, taking penalties for not completing the third section, which will drop them well below their starting 8th ranking.

“We tried to get to the end by swapping the wheels to use what bit of tyre we had, and had to stop when bits of the car started flailing off. So we have dropped down horribly.”

We are gutted about it as we wanted to finish in the Top 10, but that’s looking less and less likely.”

Similarly car no 44 came in on shredded wheels after the rougher sections. Car no 40, Peugeot 504 of the dapper Francois Lethier had yet more problems when their wheels buckled following a broken rotor. “Its incredible, each day we have had something,” he said. “We are learning each time, but I have never had it happen like this before.”

Car 29, Nick Mason’s Datsun lost their clutch in the first section and ran the entire 117kms of the second section on gears. Then in the 3rd section they lost the brakes, limping out slowly to finish the day safely.

For the Trabant fans, Michael Kahlfuss arrived safely. “We are relieved he said,” I was concerned the other day about how many days we can still make, but we have come through today.” And  Bernard Kessel’s Porsche 911, which had engine failure a few days ago repaired, started and finished the day.

Those less fortunate were car 28 Marzio Kravas’ Ferrari, which had terminal gearbox failure, which means he is out of the rally.  Car no 35, the Mercedes 450 SLC was unable to start the first competitive section due engine problems.

Day 6 Crew Quotes

2       Gregoire de Mevius          Nicolas Gilsoul                     Porsche 911
It was a good day. We had the best time in CS13. Then we had some trouble when we caught Cavanagh, so lost about two minutes. We caught Goransson but he was just leaving after fixing a puncture so we had to eat his dust. Quite a good day for us.

5       Carl Tundo                        Tim Jessop                          Triumph TR7 V8
Horrendous day. We had a good first stage and limped out when we broke a half shaft and then had to stop to refill with the radiator with coolant. Going only for a finish.

6       Richard Goransson           Emil Axelsson                     Porsche 911
We had a puncture but other than that a smooth run. No problems otherwise.

8       Onkar S. Rai                      Baldev S. Chager                Porsche 911
Same problem of slow car misfiring, so we took it slow. No speed. Trotting through.

10     Alastair Cavenagh            Gavin Laurence                  Porsche 911
“We had a bit of a disaster when the torsion bar broke, so we had to drive 50kms with it broken and the whole second section with no suspension at all, which was tough as it was a rough stage. At least we completed, and didn’t get any time penalties.”

12     Andrew Siddall                 Carl Williamson                  Datsun 260Z
“We tried to get to the end by swapping the wheels to use what bit of tyre we had, and had to stop when bits of the car started flailing off. So we have dropped down horribly.” We are gutted about it as we wanted to finish in the Top 10, but that’s looking less and less likely.”

23     Jorge Perez Companc      Jose Volta                            Ford Escort RS 1800
We had a good first stage, but hard and rough. Very difficult to read the notes. A lot of dust in the last stage especially. Good in all, though

25     Richard Jackson               Ryan Champion                  Porsche 911
Dreadful day. We were just about to catch Gregoire and the distributor filled on the last stage and put us out on the final stage, so a 90 minute penalty, so its put us out of the results really.

26     Jayant Shah                      Ravi Chana                          Porsche 911
It was good. The second section was horrible, but we had an amazing good fun third section. We are getting there now.

29     Nick Mason                       Harpal Sudle                       Datsun 240Z
First stage we lost the clutch so we ran on the gears. On the second section we still didn’t have the clutch. We finished, took a couple of cars, but in the third section we lost our brakes. It was scary. Nick was sweating. Over brows of hills, we couldn’t’ stop the car. We tootled along, but you still need a bit of brakes.

30     Frank Tundo                     Natasha Tundo                   Triumph TR7 V8
Eventful. We broke the jack and had several punctures, which he had to change by running the car up a bank to get access to the wheel.

33     Jonathan Somen               Richard Hechle                   Ford Escort

36     Aslam Khan                      Arshad Khan                      Porsche 911
We did 60 km in the dust of car 39. The screamer wasn’t working. Otherwise it was OK.

38     Samit Gehlot                     Asit Patel                             Ford Escort
Nothing too exotic happened. Fairly normal. Still good to be here.

39     Kurt Dujardyn                  Jacques Castelein               Porsche 911
In the third stage we thought we were running out of gasoline, and we stopped about 13kms in. We waited for at least 2 hours but it turned out to be an electronic problem and ended up being easy to fix once we knew what it was and it started again. We had passed 3 cars in the first two stages.

40     Francois Lethier               Arnaud Debron                  Peugeot 504
First stage great but the 86kms into the second we broke the rotary and so the wheels buckled inward. It’s incredible. Each day something happens It’s the first time in I don’t know how many years that this has happened. We are learning. We will be back in two years much stronger

41     Tejveer S. Rai                    Zahir Shah                          Porsche 911
Not too bad today. Kept it clean. Got the car back. Rough sections. We are looking at fifth, which we are happy about after all the tough driving today. Still have fast guys behind us so its still not yet over.

43     Ramesh Vishram              Rohit Bhudia                       Ford Escort Mk11
Went very well for us. We saw people dropping in the second section. Last stage we took easy and finished 27th, with shredded tyres. But was great.

44     Arron Banks                      Tim Chesser                        Ford Escort
Our steering arm went broke and a shock absorber. We have finished every stage, even if we are limping.

48     Kailesh Chauhan              Simon Phillips                     Ford Escort Mk11
Just took out a culvert on CS15 where there were a series of 3 jumps and we went out of line and jumped in the air, landed on our side, then back on our wheels. Pushed it out, but damaged a lot so it’s been heavy on the spares.

50     Kishan Bhanderi              Tim Mammen                     Datsun 1600S
Beginning to go well. Much better than he last few days and we are enjoying ourselves

52     Nish Lakhani                     Teeku Patel                         Datsun SSS 1800
Clean run! It was rough but we had no problems. WE actually overtook guys, but we saw when we came into service that the rear body had sheered off, so we were lucky to get in.