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Safari Rallyt; Day eight - Sunday: Arusha to Arusha.

Less drama today in terms of major reversals of fortune among the leading drivers on the Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally 2007 but plenty of action, both in and out of the cars. The marathon 154km competitive section proved every bit as hard a test as had been predicted. Even the leader, Bjorn Waldegård, found that his Ford Escort was capable of giving troubles when he had to drive practically the whole section with no operative clutch and then had a steering problem caused by a loose steering rack. Behind him, Gerard Marcy took fastest time on the section with his Porsche 911 and not only overtook Frederic Dor´s Porsche 911 on the section but also passed him for second place in the overall rally. But even he was not destined to finish the day without problems as a puncture on the second section saw him record a time three minutes slower than Waldegård. Thus the gap between first and second place remains at just over quarter of an hour.

Dor admitted that he was taking things a bit easily now to ensure finishing as he leads Geoff Fielding in yet another Porsche 911 in fourth place by fifty-three minutes with Paul-Eric Jarry fifth in a Porsche 911 a further twenty-five minutes in arrears. Sixth is Stig Blomqvist in the second Historic Motorsport Escort but he had a difficult time through the long section losing fifteen minutes after getting stuck once and sustaining a puncture.

Now in seventh place is Roddy Sachs with the first of the three South African entered, Australian prepared Datsun 180Bs. His team mate, Wayne Kieswetter, in another 180B lies eighth with local driver, John Rose ninth in a Datsun 240Z. Tenth is Australian, Graham Alexander in a Datsun 260Z but other big Datsuns have not fared as well. In the first section, John Lloyd rolled his 240Z out of the rally but without any injury to the crew. Not quite so fortunate was Steve Perez in his 260Z as he hit a very bad drift and the kick-back from the steering coupled with the shock of impact appears to have damaged his vertebrae. Amazingly, Perez was able to drive some 90km out of the section before he was taken to hospital for examination and treatment. The car has been retired.

Tomorrow is the last day of the nine-day Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally 2007. The rally cars will leave Arusha at dawn for a long drive down through Tanzania with two competitive sections and then cross into Kenya for one last fling before the finish in Mombasa at the Whitesands Hotel.

Provisional top ten results

Pos. Driver/Co-driver Vehicle Total Penalty

1 Bjorn Waldegard/Mathias Waldegard Ford Escort Mk1 13h43m33s
2 Gerard Marcy/Alain Lopes Porsche 911 14h00m30s
3 Frederic Dor/Didier Breton Porsche 911 14h11m07s
4 Geoff Fielding/Preston Ayres Porsche 911 15h04m15s
5 Paul-Eric Jarry/Craig Redelinghuys Porsche 911 15h30m26s
6 Stig Blomqvist/Ana Goni Ford Escort Mk1 15h43m47s
7 Roddy Sachs/Peter Young Datsun 180B 16h12m01s
8 Wayne Kieswetter/Rob Hellier Datsun 180B 16h35m32s
9 John Rose/Michael Borrisow Datsun 240Z 17h01m29s
10 Graham Alexander/Ross Runnalls Datsun 260Z 17h03m46s

Notes on the cars

Car No. 1 Bjorn Waldegard
"When I drove the Escort out of the parc ferme the clutch disengagement was not working. We bled the system and it came back for a while but then we had to drive the first competitive section with no clutch - it wasn´t too much of a problem if I kept the revs up but then after about another 50 km the steering rack came loose and the front wheels opened slightly. It was going everywhere except where I wanted. This time on this long (154 km) section Mathias asked me to guess how much longer. I said about 50 km and he then told me it was 90 km. We got all the problems fixed for the second section and that went well. The times don´t seem so important when you hear the sad news about Tony (Fall) but, knowing him, I´m sure he would still have found the times were important."

Car No. 2 Gerard Marcy
"We lost about a minute in the fesh-fesh but it was fantastic. Fantastic. We also got trapped behind a cow so we were in first gear for about 300m - I couldn´t believe it - and then we were trapped behind a bus. Then on the second section we had a puncture about 50 km into the stage when we hit a stone. But it was a good day."
As the Porsche 911 pulled up into the holding area at Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge it was a little low on the front left which it later transpired was a broken torsion bar.

Car No. 3 Stig Blomqvist
"Today wasn´t too bad. In the first section when we crossed the river the engine didn´t like the water. We had two front punctures - one on each section. The first was about 10 km into the first section so that was not so funny, the second was about 10 km from the end of the second section. Other than that no problems with the car."

Car No. 4 Frederic Dor
"Today was OK. In the middle of the second section we went into a small drift and the steering was knocked askew. You have to remember that the design of the steering on this car is about 40 years old and then we go and put big wheels and tyres on it. After that I just took it easy so as not to cause any more damage and to get out of the section. I think the dampers might be a little too soft which might have made the problem worse."

Car No. 6 John Lloyd
Lloyd rolled the Datsun 240Z on the first section. The crew are fine but unfortunately they will not be continuing as the car is too badly damaged. "I was slowing down from about 120kph for a drift and the back end of the car stepped out. This has happened a few times before and the worst thing that has happened so far is that we have spun and then carried on. This time the rear end caught a bank and threw the car into a series of rolls."

Car No. 7 Keith and Mary Anne Callinan
"That was an interesting day. We must have dropped about fifty minutes in the first section. We got through the river crossing OK but about 25 km in we went too far left and went about 2km before we bellied out. The local guys appeared from nowhere and dug us out. Then after about another 50 km we stopped dead and we discovered the alternator wire had come out - the vibration must have caused the clip to come away. The battery went and we had to get Mark (Solloway) to contact Wales to find out how to re-wire it. The last section was heaven-on-a-stick."

Car No. 8 Steve Perez
It was earlier reported that the 260Z rolled on the first section. In fact the car went into a large dip and hit a rock hard but did not actually roll. All the impact was taken on the cross member. Perez drove the car out of the section but on arriving at the end of the section it was decided to take him to Arusha hospital to give him a full medical check. The X-rays revealed that he had possible crushed vertebrae so the Flying Doctor has taken him on to Nairobi for further examination and treatment.

Car No. 10 Geoff Fielding
"That first long section was fantastic and the navigation was spot on. In the second section we had a front puncture 11 km from the end. But the car went well and we went well - were just keeping our heads down until the finish. The car is as right as nine pence and the only problem I have is that my driving gloves are worn out. Anyone got a spare pair?"

Car No. 11 Graham Alexander
"No problems with the head gasket after the work we did last night but I´m getting a real sore back from carrying this car around Africa. We got bogged in that sand 15 km from the start of the first section and once we got out the clutch slipped for another 30 km after that. On the second section we bent two wheel rims, one of which was rubbing on the brake calliper so we had to stop and change it. I was really annoyed when we went to use the jack because the electric gun that we use to wind the jack up and down and take the wheel nuts off had got a flat battery. If anyone wants one they´ve got to go and look for it in the sand. We wound the jack up with just a hand wrench which is not very quick. And finally when we came out of the last section into service we discovered we had a fractured oil pipe and there was oil all over the place. But the Datsun is probably good for another day at least."

Car No. 15 Richard Martin-Hurst
"I think I´m losing my enthusiasm for the Safari. I´m beginning to look on it as a destruction derby for 4x4s. Like so many others we got stuck in all that soft sand but somehow we didn´t have any punctures probably because we´re now driving very carefully to try to see the finish."

Car No. 16 Stephen Troman
"We had two puncture s the first section. The first one was very early on when we hit a rock with the front. The second was at about 90 km so we went quite carefully as we no longer had any spares. But we didn´t get stuck and we didn´t get lost - Martin (Rowe) was spot-on. The second section was good. We had no problems and the car´s perfect. Just one more day to go."
From co-driver Martin Rowe: "No punctures all rally and now we get two on the first section. We didn´t get stuck, did all the hard bits and then two punctures."

Car No. 18 Jayant Shah
"Quite a busy day. The engine flooded out in the first river and we then practically burnt out the clutch getting up the hill beyond it. Then we had a puncture and when we went to restart the engine wouldn´t go so we had to be pushed to get it going. Then we were stuck in the fesh-fesh and once again when the engine stopped it was hard to start. Then the clutch slipped all the way out of the first section. We changed the gearbox and clutch in Arusha between the sections but we thought it was raining on the second section and put on mud tyres which turned out to be a bit of a waste."

Car No. 20 Paul-Eric Jarry
"We had a couple of punctures. In the first stage it wasn´t so bad because twenty locals lifted the car - they nearly put it on its roof - and we were able to change the wheel without using the jack. But when we had the second puncture in the second stage our hydraulic jack wasn´t working and we had to use a great deal of ingenuity to get the car up using one of the spare wheels so we could change the wheel."

Car No. 22 Albert Michiels
"During the first section the right rear upper-engine mount started to break away from the body and we had to use two straps to winch the engine back into place and keep it held up. We didn´t get stuck anywhere but we did lose some time on the second section when we got lost coming out of the dry river bed and had to come back almost 7km."

Car No. 25 Michael Rose
"We had a good day. In that sand it was like the Dakar. At one point we thought we had a problem because there was a lot of vibration - we thought maybe a drive shaft or a propshaft had gone - but I think it must have been the sand inside the wheels. At a couple of places we had to crawl because the sand was so deep. Our service crew (led by Michael´s son and former Kenyan rally champion Lee Rose) got lost and were directed by locals into the stage where they pulled out about 12 other competitors. If they hadn´t have been there we might have pulled up a couple more places."

Car No. 26 Josef Pointinger
"Surprisingly the car has run ok after its accident repairs yesterday but we did get stuck going away from that river 3km after the start of the first section. And then got stuck again right next to Larry Horn in all that soft sand and had to be pushed by the Masai."

Car No. 29 Aslam Khan
"We got stuck on that hill out of the river just into the first section but that wasn´t too bad and we weren´t there too long. But further on I went to climb out of a drift a bit too slowly and we got stuck so that we had to use the jack to get the car onto the hard track and away again. We didn´t have any punctures but the sump guard came loose and for a moment we thought the whole car was falling apart. And we do have a rear leaf spring shackle broken. Very nice sections all day."

Car No. 30 Hardev Singh Sira
"We had no operation for the clutch for the last 30 km for the second stage so we had to drive all the way in second gear."

Car No. 31 Imi Dewji
"A pretty good day on the whole. We had no punctures and only got stuck where other people got stuck. Everyone says that the front end of my Datsun 240Z is too high and I probably agree with them but I think I´ll leave it that way now until the end of the rally."

Car No 32 Larry Horn
"We got stuck like so many others coming out of that river at the beginning of the first section and then on the fesh-fesh 30 km further on. We were there some time and I think we´ve almost run out of push money but despite that all in all it was a good day and we´re just happy to be through."

Car No. 33 Roddy Sachs
"We got stuck twice in the first section - I think we were the first to be pulled out by Lee Rose. The second section was the best in the event so far. My hand´s strapped up because I broken a small bone yesterday but I don´t feel any pain until I see the finish board of the stages."

Car No. 36 Shaheed Wissanji
"We were stuck in all that soft sand on the first stage which mad the car and us very dirty and then on the second stage we got lost coming away from the river."

Car No. 37 David Rayner
"The steering broke again in the first section. It always brakes the steering arm that´s bolted to the bottom of the strut. I´m beginning to think that with the horizontal compression strut in the front suspension it´s all too rigid and something has to give and that´s the arm. It took a long time to replace because the calliper and everything has to come off. We didn´t do the second section but came straight here."

Car No. 39 Rommy Bamrah
"In the first section we came up in the dust behind Jayant Shah and couldn´t get past him and with the speed falling off we got stuck in the sand and must have lost almost half an hour before we got going again. To cap everything we had a puncture in the second stage. The car is beginning to look and feel a bit tired but at least we´re still running and hope to see the finish."

Car No. 42 Bert Dolk
"Two major problems today. The first was we had a bolt come out of the centre prop-shaft mounting but it only came out after we had left service so we had to stop and fix that ourselves. Then going between the first and second stages the engine suddenly refused to deliver anything like the amount of power that it should and by the time we found the problem which was the float levels in the carburettors it was time to come back to Arusha. In that first stage we got stuck at one point and amazingly ten guys practically lifted the car out."

Car No. 43 Tim Mammen
"On the whole a good day, if a very dirty one. We got stuck in that powder towards the beginning of the first section and after you´ve been messing around in that stuff for a while even driving rallies loses a bit of its appeal. Otherwise no problems."

Car No. 44 Neil McGrigor
"Our car just doesn´t like the water. We had a very long stop to dry out electrics on the first section and then we encountered four cars stuck in the soft sand. We could not find a way round it so we went all the way round on our route during which we span all on our own. We did both sections and didn´t have any punctures."

Car No. 45 Geoff Bell
"We got stuck coming away from that first river crossing but fortunately there were lots of helping hands including Jim Heather-Hayes to get us on our way. On the second section we came up in the dust of Alexander and promptly had a puncture which split the rim and made changing it very difficult."

Car No. 47 Peter Harland
"That first section was the worst of the whole rally for us. We got stuck in the sand and we had two punctures. We got the second with 60 km still to go so we had to back off but when we got to the last 20 km I went for it. The 260Z´s not the same car she used to be. We´ve gone through four rims just today."

Car No. 48 Ekya Shah
"We´re so pleased to be here. All that´s necessary now is to get the car back to Mombasa. We had a smaller leak on the differential today but the guys can fix that and it didn´t give us any problem."

Car No. 49 Jeremy Bennett
"We got stuck in the river, stuck in the sand and then we had punctures on the rocks. We got pulled out the sand twice by Lee Rose. On the way to the second section we bought some wooden planks from a local bedmaker just in case we got stuck again. On the second section we had another puncture and then just to add to it all we ran out of petrols coming up the driveway to the hotel."

Car No. 52 Iqbal Sagoo
"A pretty good day. I really enjoyed that first difficult section despite all the powder. We passed about five cars. However on the transport to the second section the car almost came to a halt and would barely move. Of course we checked all the normal things and it took time before we discovered that the fault lay with the ignition coil. We quickly changed that but we were four minutes late into the start of the next section."

Car No. 53 Wayne Kieswetter & Rob Hellier
"In the first section we got horribly stuck twice. The first time we were pulled out by Lee Rose - I think he´s going to be very drunk tonight from all the beers that people will buy him. The second time we got stuck trying to get out of the ruts and go past Roddy (Sachs) then we had a puncture and there was a terrible smell of fuel when we re-started and we stopped again but couldn´t find anything. The second stage was ok but we couldn´t get out of the ruts."

Car No. 58 Michel Puchercos
"Just one kilometre before the start of the first section, going down the 27 km from the tarmac road, the shock absorber mount on one of the rear trailing arms broke. Then our service crew got lost for a while so by the time we met up with them and got it fixed it was a better strategy to go straight to the second section and miss the first. Happily, we didn´t get lost and I think we did a good time and enjoyed it."

A sad note was struck when the competitors and officials on the Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally 2007 learnt this morning that Tony Fall, one of the great competitors and supporters of the Safari Rally who was here working on the event, had died in his sleep during the night. All of those here on the Safari Classic send their condolences and best wishes to his family and all his friends throughout the world. Tony will be sadly missed by all those who love rallying and for whom he was a icon.

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