Final pre-Safari test: DriveTribe video

The DriveTribe video crew recently accompanied Tuthill Porsche to Wales for our final rally test day before this year’s Safari Classic Rally, which starts next Thursday in Mombasa, Kenya. We took three cars with us to Walter’s Arena for a day-long test of car setups and various updated parts, including our latest-spec dampers and awesome rally brakes.

The day was a great experience. Richard shared driving duties with our old friend and Below Zero Ice Driving instructor, Ryan Champion, the weather was generally dry and the cars all ran reliably. The DriveTribe team captured some great video footage of the cars in action and it can now be enjoyed on the official Porsche DriveTribe channel. There is also another longer article on DriveTribe which was published earlier this week.

Richard was asked a few questions as part of the video and gave some interesting answers.

When did your relationship with Porsche begin?

Forever, really. My father prepared 911 SC RS rally cars – body and paintwork – for the Rothmans team circa 1984, so that’s where it began. Then, in 1990, he stopped working for others and focused on his own Porsche rallying, which culminated in winning the London to Sydney marathon. It’s gone on from there.

What unique challenges does Kenya offer?

The stuff we will see in one day, once the rally starts, most people will never experience in their lives. There is no point going with a preconceived idea: what you have to be good at is responding to whatever happens. That can be something local, it can be a problem with the car, it can be a problem with the weather… but that’s the best, best bit about it. That’s why we love it and why we keep going back: because it is an extraordinary challenge.

What are the advantages of a rear-engined 911 versus other cars out there?

You’ve got traction, which is what every single rally driver is looking for; you’ve got independent suspension and to drive them is actually very special. One could argue they’re not easy to drive, but I think history shows that, once you understand the 911, there is no greater car to drive.

If you look at driving a car on the gravel, again if you understand the principle – and its actually quite straightforward: every corner has the same process – then you can become incredibly efficient. I think the biggest appeal is that they’re mentally stimulating.

If I had a front engined/rear-wheel drive car here, all of us could be legends within about ten minutes, because they’re so easy and so forgiving. But with a 911, every time you enter a corner, it asks you a question. It’s always a relevant question and it’s great fun answering the question.”