East African Safari Classic Rally – day six report
With the fifth day of the 2013 East African Safari Classic Rally providing the competitors with a well earned rest, the action resumed on Tuesday with Tuthill’s Porsche 911s enjoying yet more success across the African soil.
The remaining 58 cars in this year’s event started the day with a fast and flowing 109-kilometre stage 14, including a large river crossing at kilometre 46. Having led the rally into the rest day, Tuthill’s Stig Blomqvist was first onto the stage.
As with Friday’s opening blast, Blomqvist was slowed by the African ‘traffic’. “We lost a lot of time on the last section – there were herds of cows, goats and donkeys everywhere. We had to keep stopping”, the Swede explained.
The 1984 World Rally champion’s delay benefited his rally-long rival, Ian Duncan in the Ford Capri. The Kenyan, co-driven by Amaar Slatch, took a minute out of Blomqvist on the opening stage alone.
Blomqvist lost more time on the 15th stage. Duncan won the 48.83-kilometre encounter, with the Swede 53 seconds behind in fifth, as rain provided the runners further down the field with muddy conditions.
While not as bad as the torrential rain of 2011, the black cotton soil still provided a tough surface on which to go rallying. Gerard Marcy and Stephan Prevot found the stage especially tough in their Tuthill 911, finishing down in 12th.
Stage 16, the final stage of the day, saw Blomqvist loose further time to Duncan in the battle for the overall lead. Heading into the seventh day, Tuthill’s leading Porsche 911 sits two minutes and 44 seconds behind the Ford Capri.
Despite struggling on stages two and three, Marcy and Prevot continue to occupy the final podium position, while the father/son duo of David and Alex Horsey continued to rocket up the order, providing Tuthill with three cars inside the top five.
“The first two stages were a lot of fun but then, on this last stage, we had some serious problems with power”, explained David. “Geoff Bell is flying through the stages too. We’ll probably lose a position tomorrow if he continues at that pace.”
Rally novice Patrick Van Heurck has moved to the fringes of the top ten with his orange Tuthill Porsche 911, despite his co-driver, Alain Lopes’ protestations that “the last section was not rallying – it was surviving”.
While Van Heurck found the going tough at the end of the day, there were better fortunes for Tuthill’s Christer Johansson. Co-driven by Mattias Adielson, they clocked the fastest time through the ‘Meyers Farm 1’ test.
Keep up to date with Tuthill’s East African Safari Classic Rally campaign here on the Total 911 website.