Tuthill Porsche has shared a preview of its upcoming documentary on their 2013 Kenyan Airways East African Safari Classic Rally, building and prepping a squad of 911s for he largest-ever private rally effort. This two-minute trailer shows the torture of Classic Safari: revered by drivers as the world’s toughest test of man and machine. Don’t miss the full length documentary, coming to the Tuthill Porsche Youtube channel on 10 February.
Welcome to issue 301 of HANDBRAKES & HAIRPINS, your favourite free source of rally entertainment!
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Yours in Rallying,
Evan Rothman (Editor) and Eva Kovkova (Photojournalist)
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
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
The fourth day of the Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally took in four stages of which the shortest was a two-kilometre sprint round a cement quarry. This section was included to give spectators from the Nairobi area a chance to see the rally cars in action. But anyone thinking that Sunday was to be an easy day for the competitors soon had to think again as the first two competitive sections – one in Tanzania and one in Kenya – were both almost 120km each. And they succeeded in shaking up the leader board in no uncertain fashion.
On the first section, the fastest man was Richard Göransson in a Team Tidö Porsche 911 but after his earlier problems, he is classified in the mid-twenties and can only hope to make up a small part of his two and half hour deficit to the leaders. More interesting for the overall classification was that Gregoire de Mevius, driving a BMA Porsche 911, was second fastest. With slower times recorded by both Ian Duncan – the overnight leader in his Ford Capri V8 – and Stig Blomqvist in his Team Tidö Porsche 911, De Mevius thus took the lead. Blomqvist was in on-going trouble with his brakes which, despite several attempts by the Tuthill mechanics to tighten wheel bearings and play with the brake pedal box, was still suffering from ’knock-off’ that could leave the driver without brakes at the end of a straight. In one such place, they slid off and had to use the jack to get stones under the rear wheels to get down off the bank. For Duncan, the problem was the usual one of collecting a puncture and stopping to change it.
In the same section, Viking Motorsport lost its best-classified Ford Escort when Aziz Tejpar came to a halt with a broken strut that ripped out the rest of the front suspension. And the Porsche of Josef Jobst/Jürgen Bertl limped out on four cyinders after their Porsche had broken a valve in the engine that promptly went on to break two rocker arms. There was work too for the medical helicopter when Franz Wünderlich hit a drift hard enough with his Porsche 911 to damage his spine. He drove slowly out of the stage and was then spirited away to hospital in Nairobi with co-driver, Klaus-Peter Kristek.
However, De Mevius’s lead was not to last long since some 73km into the next competitive section the Belgian ace went off the road and could not regain the track thanks to a broken driveshaft. Fastest man here was Geoff Bell in the Amigos team Datsun 260Z who by virtue of that moved ahead of his team leader Steve Perez, also Datsun 260Z mounted, With good times also for the Porsches of Blomqvist and Gérard Marcy, Blomqvist regained the lead of this fascinating rally with a margin of nearly two minutes over Ian Duncan who had sustained no fewer than three punctures in this section. The more worrying news for the Kenyan driver was that Marcy was now only eleven seconds behind him in third place with Bell some two and a half minutes further back in fourth.
Better news for Kenyan drivers was that David and Alex Horsey had moved up in their Tuthill Porsche 911 to lie sixth behind Perez while Onkar Rai/Baldev Chager, also in a Tuthill Porsche 911 were now eighth. Apart from Alastair Cavenagh suffering the minor indignity of breaking a throttle cable on his Viking Ford Escort Mk2 and having to complete the section peering past co-driver, Carl Tundo who was sitting under the open bonnet operating the carburettors by hand, the spectator stage had no effect on the general classification. On the stage itself, the fastest man was Duncan who managed to take nine seconds away from Blomqvist’s lead and eight from Marcy just behind him.
On the fourth and last section of the day, fastest on the section was Baldev Chager in a Tuthill Porsche. The new Kenyan Rally Champion was quite happy with that performance, despite losing third gear. However many others, including the leaders, came out of that section complaining about the fact that there were errors in the road book caused by recent road works that had not been highlighted or corrected by the three-day car.
The situation at the end of the day is that provisionally Blomqvist leads Duncan by fifty seconds with Marcy just over eight minutes behind in third place. The gap to Bell in fourth place is just over thirteen minutes while Bell leads team mate Perez by seven minutes. New chargers in the top part of the field are Rai/Chager and Horsey/Horsey in sixth and seventh places with a mere twenty seconds between them and both lying about two minutes behind Perez. The eighth and ninth places are occupied by Phillip Vandromme’s Porsche 911 and John Lloyd’s Viking Escort almost six minutes further back but with only two seconds between these two cars on the provisional results. The tenth place goes currently to Andrew Siddall driving the third of the Amigos Team Datsun 260Zs, all of whom lie inside the top ten.
Monday is a rest day with time set aside for service on the cars and lighter things such as watching the animals in the fantastic Amboseli Park.
Quotes from the top six crews:
Car no. 5 – Stig Blomqvist/Staffan Parmander Porsche 911:
Our troubles on the first section were all down to the brakes. Something in the car is causing the discs to knock-back the pads in the callipers so when I come to a corner there is no pedal. On this particular place, trying to pump up the brakes at the last moment made the back hang out and before we knew it, we were perched on a bank with both rear wheels off the ground. Thus we couldn’t drive it off but had to jack up first one side and then the other to put stones underneath so that we could drive off. Must have cost us six, seven minutes but it was our good luck that Duncan punctured on that section. The brakes are still not right but we have had no punctures today or any other problem.
Car no. 3 – Ian Duncan/Amaar Slatch Ford Capri V8 Perana:
To have one puncture is unlucky – and that happened to us on the first section – but what can you say when you have three in one section ? That was us on the second section. And before you ask, we don’t carry three spare wheels so we had to drive out on the third puncture. No problems with the car but we will give it a good check over tomorrow. We were a bit disappointed by the road book in the last section as there were quite a few culverts where there was no mention of them from the three-day car notes.
Car no. 6 – Gérard Marcy/Stéphané Prevot Porsche 911:
Phew ! The road book for that last section was so bad. One place it said there was a ‘double caution’ ditch in 1.8 km but in fact it was a mistake and it was only 0.8 km. I tell you, if we had not had full speed at that point and flown over it, there would have been a lot of damage. It is bad things like that and dangerous for guys who may be going a little slower. The rest of the day was good though we did have one puncture where, when we had changed the wheel and let down the jack, we couldn’t restart as the handbrake would not release. The pin had jammed in the mechanism and it took a bit to persuade it to let go.
Car no. 4 – Geoff Bell/Tim Challen Datsun 260Z:
That counts as a good day. We did break a lower wishbone in the rear suspension about fifty kilometres into the first section and we had to drive slowly out for the remaining sixty kilometres. Then we got it fixed and made up for our woe by setting fastest time on the equally long second section.
Car no. 7 – Steve Perez/John Millington Datsun 260Z:
The story of our day is simple – no clutch ! We lost it just coming out of the second long stage onto the main Nairobi road to go and do the spectator section. It was really frightening going through all those villages and hoping that we didn’t have to stop and try to restart. The BRT mechanics tried to bleed the clutch operating system but it didn’t cure the problem so we went to the last section and prayed that we could start the engine in gear on the key. Thankfully it did catch and we got through. So if I say we are very pleased to be here, I really mean it !!
Car no. 19 – Onkar Rai/Baldev Chager Porsche 911:
Rai drove the first three sections today and Chager drove the last section.
In the first section we caught Geoff (Bell) and were stuck in his dust then in the second section we broke the accelerator cable so we used the hand throttle for a bit and then got a nudge from Geoff who had caught us and we stopped to make a proper change over to the second cable. Then in the last section our third gear was broken, but the driver (Chager) still managed to set fastest time.
From Chager: I’m loving it. I’m definitely going to be doing more Est African Safari Classics.
Photos by mcklein.de