Ian Duncan wins East African Safari in Ford Capri

When Stig Blomqvist (Porsche 911) and Ian Duncan (Ford Capri V8) started the last day of the East African Safari Classic Rally this morning, they were separated by just nine seconds with Duncan possessing the miniscule advantage. On the first competitive section – a run back through the Taita Hills – almost incredibly these two drivers set equal fastest time with the stopwatch unable to separate them. Thus the gap remained nine seconds in the Kenyan driver’s favour.

But on the second section, the tide of fortune turned once again and this time it was in Blomqvist’s favour as he beat Duncan by forty-seven seconds and thus led the rally by thirty-eight seconds with just one competitive section before reaching the finish ramp at the Whitesands Hotel in Mombasa.

However, there was one major twist of fate still remaining in this extraordinary endurance rally for classic cars when Blomqvist punctured on the very last section and lost four minutes and the lead. Thus Ian Duncan and Amaar Slatch win the Safari Classic for the second time in four years to lift once again the hearts of their faithful Kenyan supporters. After this ongoing battle of seconds Duncan’s overall lead was 3 minutes 14 seconds over the Swedish crew. For Blomqvist, who said before the rally that he never had much luck on the Safari, this was a bitter blow when it looked as if Dame Fortune was finally going to smile on him in Africa.

A Porsche won the last Safari Classic in 2011 and this time the German marque almost filled half the entry list. Indeed, seven of them finished in the top ten places with only Duncan’s Ford Capri, Steve Perez’s Datsun 260Z and John Lloyd’s Ford Escort Mk2 to keep them company. In some ways, Duncan’s victory could be said to be a double victory for Africa since the Capri that he was driving was originally manufactured for Ford in South Africa.

Third place went to Belgians, Gérard Marcy and Stéphané Prevot driving – like Blomqvist and Parmander – a Tuthill prepared Porsche 911. Their was an unchallenged run to the podium and a complete justification of their intention, announced before the start, that they would be proceeding at their own pace. Just behind them, a strong charge from Onkar Rai and Baldev Chager in a Porsche 911 was held off by the Amigos Team Datsun 260Z of Steve Perez and John Millington with the British pair showing their mettle by beating the flying Kenyans on the last stage by over a minute and a half to preserve their fourth place overall.

Kenyan father-and-son crew, David and Alex Horsey, took sixth place in another Tuthill prepared Porsche 911 with Safari Rally lover John Lloyd in seventh in a Viking Ford Escort Mk2 with co-driver Gavin Laurence. The remainder of the top ten places were occupied by Porsche 911s with Gregoire de Mevius and Alain Guehennec setting themselves a steady pace on the last day of this eventful rally and taking eighth place in a BMA Porsche 911. Kenyan crew Manvir Baryan and Jaswinder Chana claimed ninth place with the Belgian crew of Patrick Van Heurck and Alain Lopez rounding up the overall top ten in a Tuthill Porsche 911.

The battle for victory of this nine-day epic rally has kept everyone holding their breath but the stamina and skill of all the crews must be celebrated. This year the East African Safari Classic crown remains in Kenya but there is no doubt that it will be just as hotly contested in two years time.

Quotes from the top ten crews

Car no. 3 Ian Duncan/Amaar Slatch Ford Capri V8 Perana
Last time we won (2009) we were leading on the last day by 9 minutes, this time it was 9 seconds so today was stressful! Just because of that pressure it was much more challenging this year.

Car no. 5 Stig Blomqvist/Staffan Parmander Porsche 911
Of course it could have been a better day. We had a puncture in the last section not too far from the end and had to change it. It’s been close for the victory on other rallies I’ve done but not on a long, hard event like this.

Car no. 6 Gérard Marcy/Stéphané Prevot Porsche 911
Every time we have done this event it is a different rally. It was tough two years ago because of the rain and this year it was really rough because there was no rain! We tried to keep to the same pace throughout and maybe we went a bit slower these last two days to save the car. We choose the sections where we know we can perform and push on those and then take it easier on the others. We’d be happy with sixth with the competitiveness of the field so third is a great result.

Car no. 7 Steve Perez/John Millington Datsun 260Z
I enjoyed today more than the whole of the rally. I pushed much harder today because those two Porsches were behind me and then I caught another Porsche on the last section. It’s been long and rough and I’m glad I’m here and very happy with fourth place.

Car no. 19 Onkar Rai / Baldev Chager Porsche 911
Today we had a really good first section and I think we made Steve (Perez) panic a bit. In the last section we got caught in the Horseys’ dust and lost some time. Let’s just say the gazelle got away from the local lions this time! It’s been very challenging and it took us about two days to get into the swing of things. I think local knowledge helped us but you have to have big balls to do this rally.

Car no. 8 David Horsey / Alex Horsey Porsche 911
Excellent! We finished off nice and slowly as we had no position to lose and no position to gain. I think the last section we may have held up Baldev (Chager). We’re very proud with how the car has run and how we’ve looked after the car. All we’ve done is lost the horn, bent a rear arm and suffered some fuel injection problems but those were sorted by the Tuthill team.

Car no. 11 John Lloyd / Gavin Laurence Ford Escort RS1800
I’m knackered and too old for this! Today we took it gently-gently. With the competition in this event I’m really pleased with how we did. It was a very, very strong competitive entry and a really good event.

Car no. 2 Gregoire de Mevius / Alain Guehennec Porsche 911
On the first section today we went quite fast I had some good times on the Taita Hills before but then we backed off because there is little point – the others were too far away to catch. The second section was quite nice but the third was really a bit rough and there was a big mud hole right in the middle that we managed to avoid. This car was amazing – if it had not been for that one drive shaft, I think we could have been on the podium

Car no. 29 Manvir Baryan / Jaswinder Chana Porsche 911
I’m very relieved to be here with the car immaculate – no bashes or dents – and we have had no problems today. In fact we’ve had very few problems all the way through. The only thing I feel about the rally is that it is perhaps a bit long – a sevenday event might be better and not keep us away from our families and businesses for so long!

Car no. 21 Patrick van Heurck / Alain Lopez Porsche 911
Today was fantastic, beautiful. We really enjoyed the drive down here but it was very hot! And the closer you got to the sea the hotter it got. The car is perfect and we had no problems today.

Overall Classification:
01) Ian Duncan/Amaar Slatch (Ford Capri) – 16hr 54m 46s
02) Stig Blomqvist/Staffan Parmander (Tuthill Porsche 911) 16hr 58m 00s
03) Gerard Marcy/Stephane Prevot (Tuthill Porsche 911) – 17hr 39m 45s
04) Steve Perez/John Millington (Datsun 260Z) 17hr 50m 49s
05) Onkar Rai/Baldev Chager (Porsche 911) – 17hr 54m 16s
06) David Horsey/Alex Horsey (Tuthill Porsche 911) – 18hr 04m 16s
07) John Lloyd/Adrian Cavenagh (Ford Escort RS1800) – 18hr 16m 18s
08) Gregoire De Mevius/Alain Guehennec (Porsche 911) – 18hr 32m 54s
09) Manvir Baryan/Jaswinder Chanda (Porsche 911) – 18hr 51m 44s
10) Patrick Van Heurck/Alain Lopes (Tuthill Porsche 911) – 18hr 57m 59s

Photos by mcklein.de

Duncan versus Blomqvist in final day of East African Safari Classic Rally showdown

In the endurance struggle that is the East African Safari Classic Rally, with just one day and three competitive sections to go, the point is normally reached when one would expect to find competitors separated by whole fractions of an hour and looking to conserve their positions in the classification not to mention preserving their cars. For many competitors, this is the case but, up front, the situation is that the two leaders are separated by seconds and are still going for victory ‘hammer and tongs’.

Stig Blomqvist left Naivasha this morning in his Tuthill Porsche 911 with a scanty lead of fifty-nine seconds over Ian Duncan in his Ford Capri V8 and promptly made his mark by setting a fastest time on the first competitive section that was three minutes and three seconds faster than his pursuer who suffered a puncture.

But then Blomqvist’s luck took a downturn and he sustained a puncture and lost four minutes and eight seconds to Duncan who promptly moved back into the front with a lead of six seconds over the Swedish, ex-World Rally Champion. On the third and last competitive section of the day, it was Duncan who again had the advantage and extended his lead – by another three seconds to a total of nine seconds.

Behind these two, there have been few changes. The Horseys had been looking to make progress themselves on the man ahead of them, Steve Perez in the Amigos Datsun 260Z who had started the day more than six minutes ahead of them. However they are still over three minutes behind Perez and another Kenyan crew Rai and Chager have made up some time and are now only 16 seconds behind them.

By virtue of a sterling performance on the first section, Gregoire de Mevius put his BMA Porsche 911 back into the top ten by gobbling up the thirteen seconds that he lagged behind Phillipe van Heurck also Porsche mounted. He then led van Heurck by more then two and half minutes. He repeated the performance on the second section going two and half minutes quicker than Kenyan, Manvir Baryan in a Porsche 911 to grab ninth place overall, albeit by a mere five seconds. At the end of the day, he was promoted to eighth by Geoff Bell’s misfortunes in his Datsun 260Z who broke his differential on the third section. However de Mevius stands little hope of advancing further without major trouble striking those ahead of him since he lies almost twenty-three minutes behind John Lloyd in his Viking Autosport Ford Escort Mk2 in seventh place.

Friday is the last day of competition and see the remaining crews tackle three stages all very similar to the three that started this rally eight days ago last Thursday. These three sections total one hundred and ninety kilometres and there will be several prayers being offered up tonight by the surviving crews : freedom from mechanical problems, no punctures and a good clean run back to the Whitesands Hotel outside Mombasa. But all eyes will be on Duncan and Blomqvist as they struggle for victory in Ford Capri and Porsche 911 respectively.

Provisional Overall Classification:
01) Ian Duncan/Amaar Slatch (Ford Capri) – 15h 10m 06s
02) Stig Blomqvist/Staffan Parmander (Tuthill Porsche 911) – 15h 10m 15s
03) Gerard Marcy/Stephane Prevot (Tuthill Porsche 911) – 15h 39m 42s
04) Steve Perez/John Millington (Datsun 260Z) – 16h 01m 30s
05) David Horsey/Alex Horsey (Tuthill Porsche 911) – 16h 04m 39s
06) Onkar Rai/Baldev Chager (Porsche 911) – 16h 04m 55s
07) John Lloyd/Adrian Cavenagh (Ford Escort RS1800) – 16h 16m 42s
08) Gregoire De Mevius/Alain Guehennec (Porsche 911) 16h 41m 15s
09)Manvir Baryan/Jaswinder Chanda (Porsche 911) – 16h 45m 23s
10) Patrick Van Heurck/Alain Lopes (Tuthill Porsche 911) – 16h 51m 52s

Photos by mcklein.de

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Hänninen joins as Hyundai Motorsport’s WRC driver for 2014

Hyundai Motorsport has today revealed that its current test driver Juho Hänninen will drive the second i20 WRC car at selected FIA World Rally Championship events in 2014, as team-mate to recently-announced lead driver Thierry Neuville.

32-year-old Hänninen has become well-acquainted with Hyundai Motorsport throughout 2013, having completed an impressive 3,500 testing kilometres at the helm of the i20 WRC this year. The Finn has played an integral role in the team’s preparations for its debut WRC season and will be another strong asset to Hyundai Motorsport in its debut season. Good luck to Hänninen and co-driver Tommi Tuominen for 2014!

You can download this week’s edition of HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS free eZine here: http://bit.ly/1cOhqUH.

300 Cover

And here’s to 300 more!

Welcome to issue 300 of HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS, your favourite free source of rally entertainment!

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As always, please enjoy this week’s read!

Yours in Rallying,

Evan Rothman (Editor) and Eva Kovkova (Photojournalist)

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Martin Kangur: “Goal for 2014: ERC“

Martin Kangur, who made this year his first appearances with 4WD car aims next year FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) series. He is no stranger in there as he was third in 2012 2WD Cup driving Catwees Honda Racing Honda Civic Type-R. For 2014 he has made a plan which contains at least eight rounds in ERC. Last year he was one of the first drivers racing with brand new Ford Fiesta R5. He achieved fifth place overall in strong competition in auto24 Rally Estonia. Later he started also in Rally Poland, round of ERC, where he won two stages with Ford Fiesta R5. With that he become one of the youngest stage winners in ERC and was in final classification 14.

“Our goal and plan for 2014 is ERC with 4WD car. At least eight rounds. Our budget is partly covered at the moment but we are working hard. Speaking of rallies we haven’t made a final choice but certainly we wish to start in Rally Liepaja in winter, auto24 Rally Estonia which is our home rally and in Ypres Rally where we have been many times and where we were in 2012 fastest in 2WD Cup. We’re also working to find a team and a proper car for 2014. The team we’re going to work with should offer us a top-class 4WD car and testing between rallies. We have already spoken with many teams but we are still open to offers,” explains Martin Kangur his plans for 2014.

As the goal is to take part in at least eight rounds in ERC it means rallies in different grounds. Kangur agrees that he has some advantage on gravel and snow where he has more experience.

“Considering that I have small experience with 4WD car we decided that in the first half of the season our goal is to get experiences and then fight for high places in rallies. For sure I have more experience on snow and gravel and we need to use this advantage. On tarmac we need to develop through tests and rallies to be in top level,” speaks Martin Kangur.

ERC season starts with Jänner Rallye in Austria, according to the plan Martin Kangur wishes to start his season in Latvia, Rally Liepaja from 31 January-2 February.

Photos by Greg Roslon.
Martin Kangur_Poland_2

The battle for the lead in the East African Safari Classic continues

On the sixth day of this epic rally, the battle between local rally hero Ian Duncan and former World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist continued on the East African Safari Classic Rally. The Kenyan crew have re-taken the lead they had after day three in their Ford Capri and are now 2 minutes 44 seconds ahead of Blomqvist in a Race4Health Porsche 911 on a day that brought rain for some but not all crews.

Blomqvist left Amboseli leading the rally but promptly fell behind Kenyan driver Duncan on the first section of the day. Well, promptly might not be the best description since this section was 110 km long – a pretty average section length on this endurance rally. Duncan set fastest time by a minute from Blomqvist, giving him a lead of just ten seconds over the Swedish crew. After suffering driveshaft problems on day four and dropping down the leader board to fifteenth place, Gregoire de Mevius was still driving hard and set third fastest time in his BMA Porsche 911, whilst Gérard Marcy continued to post consistent times and remained in third place but over fourteen minutes behind the top two.

This long first section proved problematic for the top Datsun cars. Geoff Bell lost over half an hour in his Amigos 260Z when his fan stopped working and the car overheated, giving his well-earned fourth place to team mate Steve Perez, who was now twenty minutes behind Marcy in the overall rankings. Bell and co-driver Challen stopped to re-wire the Datsun’s fan and were kindly donated water by de Mevius, Perez and the Horseys, as well as the local Masai. The other Amigos Datsun 260Z of Andrew Siddal encountered problems in this section, apparently breaking a driveshaft flange and having to wait to be towed out of the section. Meanwhile the Kenyan father-and-son crew of David and Alex Horsey moved up into fifth in their Tuthill prepared Porsche 911. The Kenyan crew of Onkar Rai and Baldev Chager had incurred penalties for late check-in after yesterday’s service to parc fermé so they had dropped down the field but, with Chager behind the wheel, set sixth fastest time on this long section.

Unfortunately rain hit this section later in the day and many of the crews further down the field encountered rain and muddy going. For the last cars in the rally convoy, they found bad mud conditions and some had to turn around to exit the section back to the start.

Duncan managed to extend his lead over Blomqvist to over a minute on the fifty kilometre second competitive section south of Nairobi that started from Kajiado Town by setting fastest time on this section. Clearly Bell’s setback on the first section had fired up his own cylinders as he set joint fastest time on this section with Duncan. Marcy remained in third with a substantial gap to fourth placed Steve Perez in his Datsun 260Z. However, close on Perez’s heels were the Horseys in their Porsche 911 only two minutes behind. Third fastest time on this second section was set by Kenyan crew Cavenagh and Tundo in their Viking Ford Escort. They have been plagued by problems throughout this eight-day rally but were still driving hard. Their Viking team mate, John Lloyd had moved up to sixth place by setting consistent times and pulling ahead of the Kronos Vintage Porsche 911 of Phillippe Vandromme.

The final sixty kilometre section of the day ran around the back of the Ngong Hills and past the Suswa volcano. Fastest time on this section was clocked by Geoff Bell again, despite getting caught behind the Horseys who were down on power throughout the section. Perhaps it was the sight of Bjorn Waldegård, now spectating, who gave the Datsun crew the thumbs up that provided that little bit of extra motivation. Duncan set second fastest time but over a minute slower than Bell whilst Blomqvist met some traffic in the last section and put in the fourth fastest time. Cavenagh and Tundo set another third fastest time on this section. They had a relatively clean run today, although they did confess that in today’s first section they had a brief stop in the same mud hole and against the same tree where they had met problems two days earlier on the rally.

This gave Duncan’s Capri a lead of 2 minutes 44 seconds at the end of the day over Blomqvist’s Porsche 911 with Marcy about 17 minutes behind the Swedish crew in third place in a Porsche 911. There is another wide 22 minutes gap to fourth placed Perez’s Datsun 260Z. The Kenyan crew of David and Alex Horsey have continued to swap driving in a Porsche 911 and the strategy seems to be working as they are now in fifth place just behind Perez. Despite a few hiccups in the first section of the day (see quotes below), John Lloyd is in a well-earned sixth place in a Ford Escort.

Tomorrow’s route takes the crews on a loop centred on Naivasha with four sections. They start with a new section for the rally run in Kedong Ranch that is also run as the last section of the day. The second section from Suswa has been cancelled and the third Soysambu section is contained within the Delamere ranch.

Top Ten Provisional Leaderboard:
01) Ian Duncan/Amaar Slatch (Ford Capri) – 11hr50m55s
02) Stig Blomqvist/Staffan Parmander (Tuthill Porsche 911) – 11hr53m39s
03) Gerard Marcy/Stephane Prevot (Tuthill Porsche 911) – 12hr10m48s
04) Steve Perez/John Millington (Datsun 260Z) – 12h33m18s
05) David Horsey/Alex Horsey (Tuthill Porsche 911) – 12hr35m06s
06) John Lloyd/Adrian Cavenagh (Ford Escort RS1800) – 12hr41m17s
07) Onkar Rai/Baldev Chager (Porsche 911) – 12hr42m13s
08) Philip Vendromme/Frederic Vivier (Porsche 911) – 12hr42m22s
09) Geoff Bell/Tim Challen (Datsun 260Z) – 12hr44m10s
10) Manvir Baryan/Jaswinder Chana (Porsche 911) – 13hr05m56s

Photos by mcklein.de

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auto24 Rally Estonia is a round of FIA’s ERC for 2014

Georg Gross

Next year’s auto24 Rally Estonia, held on 17-19th of July, moves a big step ahead as it reaches the goal the organizing team set two years ago. Following meeting of the FIA Rally Commission held in Geneva, it was voted that auto24 Rally Estonia will become a part of the 12 round FIA European Rally Championship 2014 and it means that the Special Stages in South-Estonia will be waiting for the best rally drivers of Europe. The final FIA ERC calendar is pending on final ratification of the FIA World Motorsport Council.

Urmo Aava, director of auto24 Rally Estonia: “We are very glad that we have an opportunity to organize such a great sporting event. Considering the level the FIA and Eurosport Events have reached, auto24 Rally Estonia 2014 will be the biggest autosport event ever held in Estonia. Many former WRC events are a part of ERC, new R5 cars from Ford, Peugeot and Citroen will be on the market next year, so I believe we will see the strongest drivers’ line-up of all times in ERC 2014. Our aim is to become the best organized rally in ERC series. Having received a positive report from the FIA about 2013 auto24 Rally Estonia’s technical organization, we have a good feeling about this.”

Francois Ribeiro, Motorsport Director of Eurosport Events: “As championship Promoter, Eurosport Events is very happy to get auto 24 Rally Estonia into ERC calendar. This event has the potential to bring to ERC what Neste Rally Finland brings to WRC: spectacular fast stages, jumps, local enthousiam and „more than a rally“. ERC will gain a great gravel event, well promoted, in a country where rallying means something to anyone in the street.”

auto24 Rally Estonia will bring to Estonia drivers, teams, media and more than 10 000 rallyfans from 20 countries and the organizers believe that the total number of spectators will reach 40 000. Via Eurosport and their partners TV-coverage and promotion of the rally reaches around 20 million viewers in different continents. Taking all this into account, the rally will bring an estimated 5 million euros direct impact and more than 5 million euros indirect positive impact to Estonian economy.

The whole budget of auto24 Rally Estonia 2014 is 900 000 euros. Having 72% of it covered, the organizing team is working hard to find the final fundings. auto24.ee will continue as the name sponsor of Rally Estonia in 2014.

Becoming a round of ERC, auto24 Rally Estonia’s activities will spread across South-Estonia even more than in the previous years. Rally start and finish podium will be moved to Tartu, the second biggest city in Estonia, where also a city Special Stage will be run. On Friday night, a big concert in Tartu will be a part of auto24 Rally Estonia’s entertainment programme. Rally Headquarters, Service Park, commercial and entertainment areas are situated in Tehvandi Sports Center at Otepää. The competitors will face a total of 235 km of Special Stages on the curvy gravel roads of Valga, Võru, Põlva and Tartu counties.

FIA European Rally Championship is the longest running rally championship, celebrating 62 years in 2014. Starting from 2013, the promotor of the series is Eurosport Events who made a 10-year-agreement with the FIA.

In addition to being a part of ERC in 2014, auto24 Rally Estonia is also a round of FIA European Historic Sporting Rally Championship and Estonian Autorally Championship. auto24 Rally Estonia is held on 17-19th of July.