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Day one - Sunday: Mombasa to Nairobi.

After the first three stages of the Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally 2007, the established flyers are showing the way. Bjorn Waldegård of Sweden in a Ford Escort RS1600 leads Gerard Marcy from Belgium in a Porsche 911 by just over thirty seconds with Stig Blomqvist, also from Sweden and also in a Ford Escort RS1600, just over a minute behind the Porsche. All three leaders have had some slight mechanical problems mainly due to the extremely tough going on the second stage in the Taita Hills but these were restricted to bent or damaged components rather than broken ones

Fourth overall and best local driver is Ian Duncan in his formidable Ford Mustang who has kept the leading three well in sight and lies a minute and a half behind them. After that the gaps between the cars start to increase. Frederic Dor who hit something in the Taitas and broke his Porsche´s steering rack was lucky to get out of the stage with only the loss of a few minutes and thus hung on to fifth place.

Datsuns are the most prolific cars on the Safari Classic and thus it is little wonder to find 240Z and 260Zs occupying the next four places. Best of these is the 240Z of John Rose, just over a minute behind Dor followed closely by Graham Alexander from Australia in a 260Z. Another Kenyan this one in a 260Z, Stefano Rocca, is eighth and Englishman, John Lloyd with Kenyan co-driver, Adrian Cavenagh, lies ninth in a 240Z. Rounding out the top ten is Safari novice, Geoff Fielding from England driving a Porsche 911.

All ten cars are covered by a mere twelve minutes which tends to suggest that as this tough rally moves into its second day and goes to longer stage in the Rift Valley, the final result could be very close. So far, the weather has been dry with no more than a handful of mud holes to enliven things and the forecast for the next few days is good.

Competitors checking into the service area at the Nairobi Safari Park were greeted by Eric Cecil, the man who practically invented the original Safari Rally, won it once and organised it many times. Eric has made the long journey up from his home in Australia to see the action and to attend the Gala Dinner on Sunday night.


Pos. Driver / Co-driver Vehicle Total penalties
1 Waldegard / Waldegard Ford Escort Mk1 01:28:33
2 Marcy / Lopes Porsche 911 01:29:09
3 Blomqvist / Goni Ford Escort Mk1 01:32:23
4 Duncan / Slatch Ford Mustang 01:34:01
5 Dor / Breton Porsche 911 01:37:30
6 Rose / Borrisow Datsun 240Z 01:38:47
7 Alexander / Runnels Datsun 260Z 01:39:04
8 Rocca / Daykin Datsun 260Z 01:39:58
9 Lloyd / Cavenagh Datsun 240Z 01:40:12
10 Fielding / Ayres Porsche 911 01:40:20

Information on the crews at 20:00 on Sunday evening.

Car No 1 Bjorn Waldegard
"So far it has gone very well. We bent a steering arm in the Taitas but changed it in the service afterwards. It was lovely to see the Taita´s again. I haven´t seen them since the mid 80s. The section was beautiful."

Car No. 2 Gerard Marcy
"Perhaps we could do with a little more power." Initially, this crew appeared in the provisional results with a one minute lateness penalty for checking in before CS2 but after a quick check of the time card, this was removed.

Car No 3 Stig Blomqvist
"I´m not completely happy" which from a naturally taciturn ex-World Rally Champion means that he likes being third but would prefer to be leading ! To be fair, Stig chose wider tyres for the first section which proved to be more than twenty seconds slower than Waldegård on narrower Pirellis and then a bent steering arm in the Taitas did not help his cause.

Car No. 4 Frederic Dor
"The day was good apart from we broke the steering rack in the second section and lost about six minutes. It was really hard to get the car to come out those last few kilometres as the front wheels were pointing out and we had to shuffle round some tight corners."

Car No 5 Ian Duncan
"Pleasantly surprised by today. The car´s not handy but actually it dealt with the Taitas quite well and goes well between the bends. It was short of testing and funnily enough it feels like it´s short of power. It´s only a four-speed gearbox of course but a big V8 tends to get round that with its torque."

Car No. 9 Iain Freestone
"A good day but unrewarding." Translation : Iain caught Steve Perez on both the first section and had to suffer a little in his dust and then they took a wrong turning on the short Athi River section losing four minutes. They are currently classified thirteenth which sort of says it all.

Car No. 8 Steve Perez
"I´d like a bit more power especially to pull up the hills in the second section. In the first section I felt I was being too cautious." First time on Safari, in fact first drive in Africa for Steve, so caution is probably a good thing, especially at this stage and especially since the 260Z has run without fault so far.

Car No. 9 John Lloyd
"We´re still here and we haven´t broken anything. It´s the best car I´ve driven round the Taitas."

Car No. 10 Geoff Fielding
"The car was fantastic and the stages were great - exactly what I expected. The East African Safari Classic is exactly what it says on the packet. We thought we had gone wrong in the last section so we turned around and met Iain Freestone coming the other way. We then met another 240Z. We lost quite a lot of time." One problem that did not lose Geoff a lot of time was a broken drive shaft as this occurred on a road section where service was authorised to change it.

Car No. 15 Richard Martin-Hurst
"The Perana has been well behaved and only a rear puncture three kilometres from the end of the first section gave us any worries. But then we put new brake pads for the Taitas and I had to drive the last part of the descent with less brakes than I would have liked."

Car No. 16 Steve Troman
"We are both in at the deep end here [his co-driver is ex-Production World Rally Champion, Martin Rowe, reading the maps for the first time] but really enjoying it immensely. Today alone we have driven more than a whole British national rally." They did have one incident when the Porsche 911 went off briefly in the Taita Hills but with friendly help, they were soon back on the road. Martin Rowe commented that "If that had been my Group N 4WD car, we would still be there."

Car No 21 Jonathan Savaage
"We had four rear punctures but luckily they were all on the road sections."

Car No. 20 Paul Eric-Jarry
"There were no problems. The stages were good although the second one was rough."

Car No. 7 Keith Callinan
"The stages were good but unfortunately the alternator fell off so we incurred some penalties on the road. I blame myself - we insisted that a new one was fitted before the rally. It´s quite rough out there: the rear window popped out on the third section."

Car No. 19 Paul & Mary-Ellen Kane
"We were stuck behind a car on the first section and the second section was tight and twisty so not good for the Mustang. We also managed to get an oil leak after the second section but we´re not certain yet what the cause is."

Car No. 37 Sarah Rayner
"It´s not like anything we´ve ever done before. I think I might have to invent another description other than ruff [the shorthand in the road book for "rough"] as it doesn´t always seem quite substantial enough."

Car No. 47 Peter Harland
"It was exhausting but a great experience. This is only our third rally and we´re raising money for charity as well: the Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust in the UK." Anyone wishing to donate can visit the web site at

Car No 42 Bert Dolk
The Volvo 122S had alternator trouble the night before the start and for a while it looked as if they would not be able to get a replacement. "Then, all of a sudden, we seemed to have sixteen alternators and so that is no problem any more. It was a hard day but a good day, but the pace here on Safari is not like classic events in Europe."

Car No. 14 Alexander Hack
"We had to cope with Nairobi traffic with no clutch." After the third section, the Escort´s clutch refused to disengage so that it had to be driven to the final control practically non-stop. "It was sometimes a bit narrow but we made it and didn´t upset too many people."

Car No. 20 Roddy Sachs
"The Datsun 180B has been fantastic. You can see by the smile on my face."

Car No. 25 John Rose
"The fuel has been vaporising in the pumps when we slow down and the engine starts to misfire." Nevertheless the Rose/Borrisow Datsun 240Z has climbed to sixth place from a starting position of 25.

Car No. 26 Joseph Pointinger
"The alternator is working intermittently but otherwise the Escort is OK. There´s much more to come."

Car No. 32 Larry Horn/Rod Barbour
"The day´s gone smoothly and absolutely according to plan."

Car No. 34 Ian &Val Swan
"It´s been quite a day. Three steering arm ball joints failed on the Volvo (two on the first section) and we broke the rear windscreen. On the second section the Panhard rod broke which wrecked the back shocks. It was a bit like being on a pogo stick. We had to weld the Panhard so we were late on the road section. But we´re still smiling - just!"

Car No. 44 Neil McGrigor
"I´m a bit speechless really. It´s quite an experience but a good one."

Car No. 49 Jeremy Bennett / Tim Chesser
"It´s quite tough! We got lost going into the last section because we lost the last page of the supplementary road book and we got a two minute road penalty which was a shame but we´re really enjoying it and the Mexico has been brilliant."

Car No. 53 Rob Hellier
"The day was fun! We´ve been swapping the driving. It´s Wayne´s first time in a rally car but he drove the first section. Unfortunately we got lost on the last section."

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Nästa deltävling:
Skogsåket 22/05

Rally SM:
South Swedish Rally 14-15/05

Rally VM:
Vodafone Rally de Portugal 20-23/05

Svenska RallyCupen:
Gästabudstrofén 29/05

Foto från:
Uddevalla City Race, del 2.
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Uddevalla City Race.
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