COLLINGE MAINTAINS EAST AFRICAN SAFARI RALLY LEAD
The head of the leaderboard of the 2005 East African Safari Rally remains largely unchanged after the fourth day of competition, with Kenyan Rob Collinge maintaining his lead in the Datsun 260Z. Belgium's Gerard Marcy holds second in a Ford Escort, with John Lloyd holding on to his third position in the lead Porsche 911.
Today, the East African Safari Rally took the crews north of Nairobi and into the famed Masai Mara for another four competitive sections and 175.38 competitive kilometres. The route headed out towards Nakuru and the Delamere Estates for the first section of the day before heading to Narok and the Mara plain, awash with spectacular game. The crews spent the overnight halt in the Mara Simba Lodge after driving a total of 504.65 kilometres and nearly nine hours on the road.
Collinge, co-driven by Anton Levitan, started the day with nearly 16 minutes in hand and marginally extended his advantage during the day, despite some gearbox problems in the second section (CS16).
"It wasn't going into fourth properly," said the Kenyan, who won CS15. "The stages have been very good today, but there were a lot of cows and sheep which needed a bit of caution. Overall I'm happy with the day though."
Gerard Marcy, who was one of the early leading contenders in the 2003 East African Safari Rally, had a virtually problem-free run in the Escort, although co-driver Alain Lopes, who is competing for the first time, had some problems with the road book. "Our only problem today was losing time in CS18 when we got a bit lost," said Gerard.
John Lloyd and Paul Amandini also powered through the day without trouble, their Porsche 911 not missing a beat during the 175.38 kilometres of competition. "Everything's been fine today, other than wrong-slotting in CS18," said John. "We've had no problems at all."
Stig Blomqvist and Ana Goni maintain fourth, the duo relieved to have escaped without problems after a frustrating day yesterday. They claimed fastest time in CS17. Frederic Dor - who won CS16 - and Iain Freestone round off the top six, with Australian Graham Alexander climbing up the leaderboard from ninth to seventh overnight. Safari veteran Bjorn Waldegård suffered with brake problems during the day and slipped to eighth while former team-mate Juha Kankkunen climbed from 14th to 11th in the Datsun 240Z after winning the final section of the leg (CS18).
Tuesday (6 December) is a welcome rest day for the crews in the Masai Mara. However with nine hours of permitted servicing time, support teams are likely to be busy throughout the day. The competitive action then resumes on Wednesday 7 December (Leg 6) with another big day covering a total of 609.01 kilometres. The route takes the crews from the Masai Mara, north, for another three sections over 176.66 competitive kilometres. The first section (CS19) takes them up the Mau Escarpment and is one of the toughest and roughest of the event, reaching altitudes of 2,900 metres. The route then takes the crews through the famous Kerio Valley before the overnight camp at the Du Toits farm, 12 kilometres from Eldoret.
DRIVER QUOTES - LEG 4
3. Juha Kankkunen/Juha Repo - FIN/FIN - Datsun 240Z
"We've been caught in Iain Freestone's dust all day. We could've been a lot quicker, but that's life on this rally."
4. Stig Blomqvist/Ana Goni - S/YV - Ford Escort RS 1600
"After all our problems yesterday, I'm pleased to say today everything has been fine; we've had our share now."
5. Bjorn Waldegård /David Cavanagh - S/RI - Porsche 911
"Our shocks were absolutely not suitable for the first stage this morning; it was too rough. In the second section (CS16) one of the front brake pipes broke after 10 kilometres so that was fairly difficult. But the service crew was incredible and turned up at exactly the right moment. Then, in the final section (CS18), we had a rear brake pipe break; not the best day."
6. Frederic Dor/Paul Howarth - F/GB - Porsche 911
"No problems for us and unlike other people, we saw zero animals. These stages are what real rallying is all about; they have been really nice. It's been very different everywhere today but we've run well with a better suspension set-up."
8. Richard Martin-Hurst/Tony Devantier - GB/NZ - Ford Capri Perana
"The front pulley went on the crack last night, so that's that, we're out."
9. Iain Freestone/Preston Ayres - GB/GB - Ford Escort
"Our service van broke down last night so we've had no support all day. And, typically, we had a total brake failure on the way out to the first section; one of the pads came out. It could be an interesting experience trying to do the Safari with no service crew."
12. Simon Glover/Russ Langthorne - GB/GB - Ford Escort
"All four stages have been fine and the car's running well."
15. Anthony Ward/Ievan Thomas - GB/GB - Ford Escort
"We had a big moment in CS18 and the car went a long way into the air! There were so many huge bumps and holes. The stages have been fine, although we're getting a lot of dust in the car."
16. David Kedward/Crispin Sassoon - GB/GB - Ford Escort
"We bent a wheel in CS17 and had to stop and change it. It's a typical Safari and we just need to keep going."
18. Jayant Shah/Lofty Drews - GB/GB - Datsun 180B
"We got lost in CS18 and then broke the front anti roll bar in the next one."
19. James Ingleby/Mike Bowen - GB/GB - Rover
"We've had a terrible day. We were lost for more than 20 kilometres in CS18 and our timing's been up the creek all day. One of the diff bearings then came out this morning but we managed to fix it, so we've had good and bad luck I suppose."
20. Marzio Kravos/Renzo Bernardi - EAK/EAK - Mercedes 450 SLC
"We bent something in the steering in CS18; there were big holes in there."
2015. Soren Kjaer/Mads Kjaer - DK/DK - Porsche 911
"We had two flats in CS18 and have had slower people in front of us today. We lost around 15 minutes in the section after hitting a ditch while we were trying to overtake someone. But, we're delighted to be back, the car's fixed and we're really looking forward to the rest of the event; it's been wonderful so far."
21. Josef Pointinger/Peter Hall - A/GB - Ford Escort
"We had a broken battery terminal in CS16, the dashboard then fell out and we lost the Terratrip too! Interesting."
22. Graham Alexander/David Stewart - AUS/AUS - Datsun 260Z
"The stages have been very nice today and the car's running very well."
24. Jurgen Bertl/Jiri Kotek - D/CZ - Porsche 911
"We had a big off on a sharp right-hand corner in CS18, two kilometres from the finish, and I think it cracked the rear suspension arm as it then broke on the road section into the overnight halt." The crew collected more than two hours of road penalties and dropped from 11th to 21st.
25. Paul Kane/Mary Ellen Kane - GB/GB - Ford 350 Mustang
"We had a problem with the clutch yesterday and now we just need to find some small parts, but it's not been so easy. We really want to try and get the car round, but we've had to miss today's sections to try and repair it."
28. Albert Michiels/Patrick de Coninck - B/B - Porsche 911
The crew is reported to have had an electrical fire in CS15.
29. Marc Devis/Dan Erculisse - B/B - Porsche 911
"CS18 was awesome; in fact they've all been the same today. There's been a real mix of stuff and you need to keep your eye on the road the whole time; it's been full of holes everywhere. We've had problems with the suspension, but we're determined to nurture the car home."
32. Timothy Mammen/Jaspal Matharu - GB/EAK - Datsun 1600 SSS
"It's been hot and dusty and we've not had a great day. A brake pipe sheared in the first section (CS15) and we had to drive 30 kilometres with no brakes. We stopped to plug the pipe and had to take the next one really slowly. The stages have been tricky with big holes everywhere."
36. Simon Sharpe/Denis Burnett - EAK/GB - BMW 2002
"We lost time with a puncture in CS17, but the stages are so challenging; you need to be alert the whole time."
39. Imtiaz Dewji/Iqbal Singh Sagoo - GB/GB - Datsun 240Z
The crew is reported to have had gearbox problems in CS15.
40. John Hills/Michael Tuckey - GB/AUS - Ford Escort
"I'm not sorry the day's over; I feel knackered! One of the road sections was worse than being on a stage! Apart from CS1, where we had a broken strut, everything's been perfect and we've been competitive."
43. Uwe Kurzenberger/Gabriele Mahler - D/D - Peugeot 504
The crew was reported to be stuck in CS15.
47. Jonathan Savage/Quentin Savage - EAK/EAK - Datsun 260Z
"We picked up a penalty for checking in late at CS18, but we've had a fantastic day. Just one off, but that was driver error and there was no damage. just to ego!"