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Safari Rallyt; Day nine - Monday : Arusha to Mombasa.

There were last minute dramas on the last day of the Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally 2007 but not enough to change the identity of the winning crew. This was Bjorn and Mathias Waldegård in a Ford Escort RS1600 who had led on Day One, momentarily relinquished their lead to Gerard Marcy and Alain Lopes in a Porsche 911 on Day Two, but then led all the way to the finish from the end of Day Three. For the ex-World Champion, already a four-time winner of the original Safari Rally, this was quite an emotional occasion since it is just thirty years since he first won the legendary event.

The dramas centred on Marcy who struck problems in the second section, the infamous Usambara Mountains, when he hit a rocky bank and broke his front suspension. He tried to drive out of the stage but failed. Consequently, he had to wait for the other competitors to finish the section and for his service crew to drive twenty-two kilometres in to mend the Porsche. Marcy set fastest times on both the first and third section today and received an enormous cheer when he drove over the finish ramp, on arriving after nearly all the other cars. Marcy fell back from second to fourth overall to the benefit of two other Porsche drivers, Frederic Dor and Geoff Fielding who occupied second and third places behind Waldegård.

Yet another Porsche 911, that of Paul-Eric Jarry, was fifth just ten minutes ahead of Waldegård´s team mate and fellow ex-World Champion, Stig Blomqvist who took sixth place after what had been for him a troubled event. Behind Blomqvist were the two South African Datsun 180Bs of Roddy Sachs and Wayne Kieswetter whose steady performances were rewarded with seventh and eighth places respectively. The best local driver was John Rose in the Datsun 240Z built for his sixtieth birthday that he had celebrated at the beginning of November. Completing the top ten finishers was Australian, Graham Alexander with his Datsun 260Z which, in his opinion, was not destined to go much further.

In eleventh was a relative newcomer to the sport, Jeremy Bennett, competing in his first major rally who also won his class and had used his participation in the rally to promote the charity "Alive and Kicking". Another class winner was Safari Classic veteran, Richard Martin-Hurst who brought his Ford Capri Perana home in twenty-second place despite suffering major transmission problems in Tanzania.

In all, forty-two cars from the fifty-eight starters were classified as finishers and went over the ramp in front of the Sarova Whitesands Hotel north of Nairobi on Monday afternoon. The prize giving will be at Whitesands on Tuesday morning.

Final top ten positions

Pos. Driver/Co-driver Vehicle Total Penalty

1 Bjorn Waldegard/Mathias Waldegard Ford Escort Mk1 15h34m08s
2 Frederic Dor/Didier Breton Porsche 911 16h04m45s
3 Geoff Fielding/Preston Ayres Porsche 911 17h05m02s
4 Gerard Marcy/Alain Lopes Porsche 911 17h14m18s
5 Paul-Eric Jarry/Craig Redelinghuys Porsche 911 17h29m11s
6 Stig Blomqvist/Ana Goni Ford Escort Mk1 17h39m47s
7 Roddy Sachs/Peter Young Datsun 180B 18h13m20s
8 Wayne Kieswetter/Rob Hellier Datsun 180B 18h36m22s
9 John Rose/Michael Borrisow Datsun 240Z 19h02m20s
10 Graham Alexander/Ross Runnalls Datsun 260Z 19h06m05s

Car No. 1 Bjorn Waldegard
"It was quite a long day since the driver was not allowed to make a mistake and the co-driver was not allowed to make a mistake. The first section today was quite tricky and I would have liked to have attacked in the Usambaras but there was a bit too much traffic these days. I was a bit nervous all day but when I pulled up at Whitesands I felt fantastic. It´s been thirty years since I won my first Safari. The car´s been perfect all day."
From co-driver Mathias Waldegard: "I feel great to make it to the end and to win. We took it quite carefully as we knew we had to finish."

Car No. 2 Gerard Marcy
"Our problem today came out of the blue on an uphill left-hander at not much more than 50 or 60 kph. The car slid a little and I corrected and suddenly it turned sharp right and hit the rock. We tried to drive out of the section but after about 8km we realised that we were doing too much damage. The service crew came in when they could and found that we had broken the outer tract control arm joint so that the strut was completely free. They fixed it and we continued and did the last section where we did fastest time, as we had done on the first section. I´m very happy to have finished. This Porsche is fantastic and I´ve really enjoyed driving it on these roads."

Car No. 3 Stig Blomqvist
"That was a long hot boring day but we did it mainly without problems. It´s a shame about our problems that came earlier as it meant that we were never really able to challenge for the lead but I´ve enjoyed myself and enjoyed the driving."
From co-driver Ana Goni: "Today was tough. The steering became loose half way through the Usambaras. I´m relieved to have finished. Compared to the other Safari Classics the event has been just as good as always."

Car No. 4 Frederic Dor
"It´s not been a perfect day because we first had a front damper seize and then actually broke a rear one in the Usambaras. We were starting to run out of these special XTC dampers from New Zealand and therefore when we changed three before the last section, they were all pretty well used. The car is very soft now, nice to drive in traffic but not so good on the stages. When you drive fast on these roads the suspension needs to be stiff so that when you hurt your back you know you´re going too fast."

Car No. 7 Keith & Mary-Ann Callinan
"I´m a very happy competitor to finish. We lost the clutch right at the beginning of the second section which made it pretty difficult but the section would have been just sensational if we´d had a clutch. We didn´t have time to fix it so we had to do the third section with no clutch as well and get back to Mombasa. It´s a fantastic feeling to finish. The East African Safari Rally is a true marathon."

Car No. 10 Geoff Fielding
"We took it good and steady. We bust a rear damper in the second section quite near the beginning and we had to nurse it through. I´d hoped to be in the top ten but to be on the podium is beyond words. It´s absolutely fantastic, brilliant. The car is in perfect condition and I am just overwhelmed. What an event."

Car No. 11 Graham Alexander
"The car´s been losing water all the time. We´ve had to top it up before a section and then sit on the start line with all the fans going to try and keep the temperature down. We´ve only used fourth and fifth gear in most of the sections. Frankly, I don´t think the old girl would have done another day but we´re naturally delighted to be here and to have finished in the top ten."

Car No. 15 Richard Martin-Hurst
"I can hardly believe I´m saying this but we had no problems today. We´re so pleased to be here and also to discover that we´ve won our class."
Mike Kirkland congratulated Richard on getting a Capri around the Safari "something the Ford factory never managed". Shortly afterwards Mike had to repeat this when the Rayners came in with their Capri.

Car No. 16 Steven Troman
"That was a very tough rally. I was a bit out of my depth at first but it was a big help having Martin in the car because what he knows about driving is useful when you´re struggling to adapt to new conditions. The road times were a bit tight. Before I came here I had the idea that it might be possible to stop on transport sections and have a drink but I soon found out this was not the case. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
From co-driver Martin Rowe: "As a novice co-driver I found it a bit tricky at times trying to help Steve with advice and concentrating on what I was actually there for."

Car No. 18 Jayant Shah
"We thought we had the car fixed on Sunday night when we did the clutch and tidied it up. But on the way to the first section we had the gear box play up again and had to change it. Not only that but the oil cooler split in the same section and that had to be fixed before we could start the first competitive section. This was a real shame as we´d just been re-seeded by the organisers and thought we´d have one day without a lot of dust but of course when we did this work half a dozen cars got in front of us. Hard rally, shame about the problems with the car."

Car No. 19 Paul & Mary-Ellen Kane
"We had a very interesting day again. We broke down in the first section when the fan´s blade hit the radiator. The service crew towed us back to the start of the section at Same where we got the radiator fixed but the temperatures were still high so we missed the second section. Then when we stopped at the border the starter motor failed so we had to get push-started. We decided to miss the final section which meant we had to take the ferry over the harbour entrance. There was a long queue and the car was still suffering overheating but we couldn´t turn it off due to the starter motor problems. Luckily I ran up the queue and found an official car which let us go in front of them. When we got off the ferry we managed to bump-start it off the ramp. But the Mustang got us here and she´s taken us to some amazing places. The rally was pretty brutal - I´ve never seen stages like that - but it´s great to be here."

Car No. 20 Paul-Eric Jarry
"No punctures and no damper problems. The day was short but not that short especially with Stig thirteen minutes behind us. I´m relieved to have finished. We´ve had no problems with the car apart from losing the horn at the end of the second section which was a bit of a problem going through Mombasa."

Car No. 21 Jonathan Savage
The crew re-started this morning after the scrutineers had checked out the remedial work on their Datsun 260Z and were satisfied that it was safe to continue. The car is best described as "Body by Datsun, styling by Savage".
"Not a very satisfactory day as the rotor arm in the distributor decided to self-destruct on the main road after the first section. Normally I would have a spare distributor but unfortunately I´d lent it someone after we´d had the accident. Thus I had to fix the rotor arm back on by wedging it with tape. It could still rotate so we were not too keen to attempt the next two sections and came straight to Mombasa. Great rally and we´re so glad to have got it here."

Car No. 22 Albert Michiels
"The first section was very hard but very nice scenery in the tea plantation. We had no problems today and I think maybe the car is good for another Safari so we might just come back."

Car No. 25 John Rose
"Mike (Borrisow) missed a bulletin that was handed out this morning and we hit a concrete drift on the first section at about 160 kph. The car took off and shot over a pile of gravel and the drift but mercifully landed on its wheels with only a slightly bent cross-member to show for the impact. If we´d been going slower it would have been a major accident. Super rally and in some ways better for private owners as you get a proper rest and can drive more on the pace of the works cars. Our Datsun 240Z was built for my sixtieth birthday on the fifth of November ."

Car No. 26 Josef Pointinger
"We should´ve started the rally with this day. It was the first day we overtook moving cars including Marcy. I think the car is quite tired now having done three Classic Safaris."

Car No. 29 Aslam Khan
"We had a good day. The second section was great for the first 30 km. We passed Marcy and he was veering towards us so we tried to give him a wide berth but the cars just touched - perhaps we saved him going off again. Apart from day 2 and day 3 where we hit a rock and then suffered subsequent problems with the suspension we´ve had a great rally."

Car No. 30 Hardev Singh Sira
"I can hardly believe it but the clutch slave cylinder went again, this time in the Usambaras and we drove most of the stage in second and third gear. Still both the car and we are here and we have enjoyed ourselves very much."

Car No. 31 Imi Dewji
"We did it. The engine was blowing oil out through the breather in large quantities in the Usambaras. We had to keep stopping to fill it up but we still managed to do the last section and get the car here. The event was fantastic - much tougher than the other two Classic Safaris I´ve done. But it is out of this world - finishing this is like winning for us."

Car No. 32 Larry Horn
"We had an alright day and nothing major happened. The first part of the second section in the Usambaras was very entertaining. I´ve no complaints."

Car No. 33 Roddy Sachs
"Time for a cold beer and lets do it all again - backwards. Too many long transport sections - more competitive sections please."

Car No. 34 Ian & Val Swan
"Well, the car held together, although there must be a bush gone on the front of the axle because you can feel it moving in the body when you accelerate. Today we just kept our fingers crossed and gritted our teeth all the way. To be honest I drove like I was a hundred and ten . We started today with the objective of finishing and we did. It was a lot tougher than I expected and we´ve never been so glad to finish an event."

Car No. 36 Shaheed Wissanji
"We set out this morning from Arusha and the BMW was going fantastically on the tarmac all the way to the start of the first section. Once we got going the engine started to lose power and just before the tea plantation I think the big end bearings went. We tried heavier oil and some additives and it was no good. A real shame for this to happen so late in the rally."

Car No. 37 David & Sarah Rayner
"The Capri behaved herself today and we´re both very grateful that the air conditioning is still working. Frankly, I think this was a bit too rough for genuine old cars. It was not too bad today but some of that stuff we went over earlier you just can´t do with an old car, you have to use a silhouette."
From Mike Kirkland to David Rayner: "I hope I didn´t talk you into something you weren´t expecting."

Car No. 39 Rommy Bamrah
"No problems today except a lack of power. All day we´ve just been looking forward to the first beer. It feels fantastic to be here."

Car No. 40 Ben Muchemi & George Njoroge
"We had no clutch in the Usambaras - the slave cylinder for the clutch went - so that was fun. It´s one hell of an event. I should have had my head checked before I did it. We´ve gone through everything. On God´s Bridge we lost the sump, the differential, the tyres and the spare tyres, the headlamps and the boot. But it was still beautiful. I feel on top of the world to be here. I´ve done one of the biggest things in my life."

Car No. 41 Kurt Vanderspinnen
Sadly the Volvo´s engine failed on the main road away from Arusha and the crew were faced with towing it 600 km to Mombasa. The problems seemed to centre on the pistons which had been changed on the very first day of the rally.

Car No. 42 Bert Dolk
"We had a puncture 5 km from the end of the last section with just the drive through Mombasa in front of us. But it was a nice day and, of course, the last one. Now the car is going well. I think the mistake we made was not give it enough ride height at the beginning, especially at the front where we had all those troubles. At least I shall know what to do for next time."

Car No. 44 Neil McGrigor
"I can´t believe we´ve finished. It´s the most outrageous rally in the world: the longest and the toughest. I have to take my hat off to my team mate in the other Escort Mexico, Jeremy (Bennett), who´s judged this event amazingly well. Both the Mexicos have been fantastic - they´ve just gone on and on - and Iain (Freestone) did an amazing job in their preparation."

Car No. 45 Geoff Bell
"No problems at all today. The Usambaras were fantastic - the best rally road I know. We did a proper flying finish when I couldn´t stop and went off at the corner."

Car No. 46 Minesh Rathod
The Colt went off in the Usambaras and rolled seven times down the hill into a tea plantation. The crew were virtually unhurt and when the sweeper car came along they helped them roll the car another four times down onto a road amongst the tea bushes and then towed them out of the section. Their service crew linked up with them and the latest information is that they are on their way to the finish.

Car No. 47 Peter Harland
Peter seemed reluctant to get out of his 260Z and when he did he said: "I don´t want to separated from my baby. No problems and no punctures. Fantastic stages today and I´m delighted and overjoyed to be here."

Car No. 48 Ekya & Prina Shah
"Today was quite trouble-free. We had a slight problem with the accelerator cable and lost about fifteen minutes fixing it. It feels amazing to finish."

Car No. 49 Jeremy Bennett
"We had a problem with the gearbox that started at the end of the first section. We broke the gearbox mounting and our service crew had to tie it on with tie-wraps and jubilee clips but the gear stick was still swimming about. It´s unbelievable to be here and to have done so well. We hoped to be maybe in the top twenty but we´re just out of the top ten and have won our class. It feels great."

Car No. 50 Nick Mason
"On Saturday we had a damper problem and had to fit odd struts at the rear but then on the Sunday John Lloyd kindly leant us one of his spars and we were able to get a matched pair. Then we hit a rock and put a stone through the sump and one of our other dampers seized. We got another sump from Steve Perez´s team and we owe both him and John Lloyd special thanks. The camaraderie on this event is second to none - it´s what motor sport should be all about. It has been a very challenging event but come hell or high water we´ll be back. Superb stages today, wish we were doing more. A very big thank you to our service crew: Nigel, Duncan and John."

Car No. 51 Peter Stoehr & Joseph Jusic
"All our problems started on the first day when the steering bent and this lead to a small accident which eventually cost us almost three days. The car is OK now although it´s rattling all over but we´re here and very glad to be here."

Car No. 52 Iqbal Sagoo
"Things were going so well on my birthday until between the second and third sections a little oil pipe burst and sprayed oil onto the hot exhaust. It caught fire in the engine compartment and neither of the fire extinguisher systems could stop it. Fortunately the Historic Rallysport service crew came along and they had lots of bottled water which we used to put out the fire. We decided not to do the last stage because the wiring loom had been burnt and the oil pipe was still leaking so we drove straight to the finish. Super rally."

Car No. 53 Wayne Kieswetter
"No problems. We could do it all again. Well the car could do it all again. Really enjoyed it and we´re serious about doing the rally again."

Car No. 55 Jeff Amin
From co-driver Dan Erculisse: "A bit rougher than last time. Perhaps the philosophy for classic rallies should be to get most people round the entire route. The organisers are so friendly that it´s a pleasure to do the rally. Our problems were really that the engine was prepared more for circuits than rallying and we had no torque and thus where it was possible to get stuck we got stuck."

Car No 58 Michel Puchercos & Constant Vanearschot
"Very varied stages today. Quick in places but then there was that last part of the Usambaras that was so rough. The car was no problem. It was prepared in Nairobi and we shared the driving. The only small problem we had today was that it lacked power in the first stage so we changed the ECU which didn´t cure the problem so we had to change it again after the second. We´ve really enjoyed ourselves, especially as our main experience in the past has been on race circuits."

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Nästa deltävling:
Lill - Eken 12/09

Rally SM:
EC Snapphanerallyt 14-15/08

Rally VM:
Rally Estonia 04-06/09

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Laxå Rallyt 29/08

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