East African Safari Rally - Halfway

The adventure continues, despite enduring a litany of niggling mechanical problems, for IRDC member and leader of the three-car Kick Energy Amigos Rally Team Steve Perez, competing on the Kenya Airways 2013 East African Classic Safari Rally as the event reached its half-way point. Day 4 saw the crews return to Kenya, tackling almost 700 Km?s between leaving Arusha and arriving in Amboseli but it wasn't plain sailing for any of the three well-prepared BTR Datsun 260Zs'.

When fifth placed Geoff Bell broke a wishbone on the opening 117 Km section, team mates Steve Perez and John Millington moved into fourth position in their Amigos Tequila-flavoured beer branded car, but their joy was short lived as a heavy landing on a rock at the flying finish of the next stage damaged the clutch.

The resulting problem was only discovered en-route to the next stage where temporary repairs were effected but Perez was forced to tackle the final 87 Km section of the day clutch-less and the resultant time loss dropped him back behind G-WRC rival and team-mate Geoff Bell, nevertheless Steve improved his position by one place to finish the day fifth overall on the leaderboard.

Co-driver in the lead 260Z, the resourceful John Millington, logistics manager for the M-Sport World Rally Team, was amazed at this the fourth day of rallying, prompting the comment; "Today, in one day, we did more distance than we do in an entire World Rally Championship event, it?s incredible!"

Tonight the crews and cars are resting in the shadows of Mount Kilimanjaro, the snowcapped extinct volcano that is not only the tallest mountain in Africa but is also the highest free standing mountain in the world. Outside their bedrooms Steve and John will see elephants feeding in Amboseli National Park and will hear lions roaring during the night. This bi-annual event really is a true safari.

Tomorrow is a well-earned rest day but only a limited amount of time is allowed for hard-pressed service crews to re-prepare the rally cars before the final half of this nine-day marathon event. Ahead of the crews is another 616 Kms? before the finish of the rally on Friday afternoon.

Provisional Results to end of Day 4

1 Stig Blomqvist/Staffan Parmander - Porsche 911 - 09:34.53
2 Ian Duncan/Amaar Slatch - Ford Capri - 09:35.43
3 Gerard Marcy/Stephan Prevot - Porsche 911 - 09:43.54
4 Geoff Bell/Tim Challen - Datsun 260Z - 09:57.06
5 Steve Perez/John Millington - Datsun 260Z - 10:04.08
6 Onkar Rai/Baldev Chager - Porsche 911 - 10:05.55
7 David Horsey/Alex Horsey - Porsche 911 - 10:06.05
8 Phillip Vendromme/Federic Vivier - Porsche 911 - 10:11.54
9 John Lloyd/Gavin Laurence - Ford Escort - 10:11.56
10 Andrew Siddall/ Carl Williamson - Datsun 260Z - 10:19.20

24th November, 2013