Stig extends lead as Ian Duncan returns

On the second day of the 2017 Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally, Team Tidö driver, Stig Blomqvist, made the most of two stages run in Tanzania and extended his lead to more than seven minutes over Kenya’s Carl Tundo.

During a gloomy day that saw organisers cancel the Amboseli Park Gate – Amboseli Fence stage as a mark of respect, after the death of EASCR chairman JS Vohra in a road traffic accident, the top six positions remained unchanged. Multiple Kenyan champion, Baldev Singh Chager, was clinging to third ahead of British Porsche 911 driver, Richard Jackson. Kenya’s Raaji Bharij came in fifth, ahead of former Kenyan classic car champion, Jonathan Somen.

1984 World Rally Champion Blomqvist (above with 1987 Safari Rally winner, Hannu Mikkola) began the day with a four-minute advantage over the second-placed TR7 V8 as the rally took on the 100-kilometre Ol Donyo Longido – Ol Donyo Sambu section in Tanzania. Stig topped the opening stage of the day, taking advantage of a puncture for Tundo. Flash fought back and won the second stage, but the spirited fightback was damped when the third stage was cancelled.

“We punctured on Ol Donyo Longio – Ol Donyo Sambu, which forced me drive like a granny and lose a bit of time,” said Carl. “I think I was put off by the punctures first thing, so that put me back. On the last one, we lost fifth gear, but I think everyone had problems in that one. The leader has had a few problems too: everyone’s having problems. Tomorrow we will pick up from where we left off.”

Further down the field, Stefano Rocca had a sizeable off in his 240Z, which forced retirement from this year’s Safari Classic. Stefano and co-driver Piers Daykin were thankfully both okay after their crash. We also started day two without the Viking Motorsport Escort Mk2: the drivers were forced to retire last night due to injury.

One piece of good news came with the Capri-like shape of Ian Duncan arriving back in the paddock at the end of the day in Amboseli. Ian spent the morning repairing the engine of his Capri, including changing a camshaft. While the two-time Classic winner concedes that these engine woes have ruled him out of contention for the win, he will rejoin the rally tomorrow and run in the top ten from the first stage, to enjoy some more rallying and measure his pace against the leaders. It will be exciting to follow Ian’s progress as the rally leaves Amboseli and heads for the Taita Hills.

Photo by McKlein