East African Safari Classic Rally – days seven, eight, and nine report
Tuthill Porsche’s Stig Blomqvist finished second in the 2013 East African Safari Classic Rally, after a nine-day battle with eventual victor, Ian Duncan. Gerard Marcy and Stephane Prevot made it two Tuthill Porsche 911s in the top three.
Day seven was a productive day for Swede, Blomqvist and co-driver, Staffan Parmander. After Duncan suffered a puncture on the opening stage of the day, the 1984 World Rally champion retook the rally lead, enjoying a 59 second advantage over Duncan.
The eighth day started even more promisingly for Tuthill Porsche’s Blomqvist. Duncan again suffered a puncture on the day’s opening stage, this time dropping him three minutes behind the Swedish duo’s Porsche 911.
However, on the following stage 22, Blomqvist was to suffer his own puncture, loosing over four minutes to Duncan as the Swede was forced to stop and replace the damaged tyre by the roadside.
The final 31.52-kilometre stage saw Blomqvist loose a further three seconds to Duncan’s Capri, leaving the Swede just nine seconds behind his Kenyan rival as the East African Safari Classic Rally entered its final day.
While Blomqvist’s fortunes were varying wildly, the Tuthill’s Belgian duo, Marcy and Prevot, continued their steady run towards third place. “The stages were very tough on the car. We are being really careful now to keep our third place”, co-driver, Prevot explained.
With a tumultuous penultimate day out the way, the result of the 2013 Safari fell to the final day’s three competitive stages. The opening run through ‘Taita Hills’ just served to show how close Blomqvist and Duncan have been all rally.
After the day’s opening stage, the gap was still nine seconds after both the Porsche 911 and Ford Capri stopped the stopwatches with identical times. However, the advantage was to swing once again on the penultimate stage.
Blomqvist completed the 67.45-kilometre stage in a time of 30m30s, 47 seconds faster than Duncan. With just one stage to go, Blomqvist and Parmander looked set for a debut Safari Rally victory.
Fortune though appeared to have other ideas as, for the second time in two days, Blomqvist suffered a puncture, this time just 20 kilometres from the finish line, giving the Swedish duo no time to respond in their Tuthill Porsche 911.
This left Duncan to take a ‘home’ victory, with Blomqvist 3m14s further back in the final overall standings. “I have always had bad luck on the Safari”, explained Blomqvist. “But to lose the rally with a puncture on the final 20 km is really hard.”
Marcy and Prevot were “very pleased to be back in Mombassa” with the their Porsche 911 in one piece. After a steady drive in the latter stages, third overall was just reward for the Belgian duo and ensured that Tuthill finished with two cars in the top three.
After holding fifth for much of the rally’s second half, father/son duo, David and Alex Horsey had to make do with sixth after being caught by Onkar Rai’s non-Tuthill Porsche 911.
“We’ve had a fantastic time”, exclaimed David. “The Tuthill 911 is a great machine, it’s been a lot of fun to drive, and our tactic to swap driving definitely worked as it helped keep us fresh before stages.”
A successful 2013 East African Safari Classic for Tuthill was rounded out with Patrick Van Heurck and co-driver, Alain Lopez securing tenth place after steadily moving up the order across the nine-day event.