We’re half way through the 2017 East African Safari Classic Rally and it has not been an easy ride so far for the Tuthill Porsche 911s. Running in the lead, Team Tidö Race4Health driver Stig Blomqvist and co-driver, Mattias Adielsson, suffered an engine issue followed by a transmission problem which knocked the former winner back down to eighth, just in front of team mate, Roger Samuelsson, who is having a great rally in P9 overall alongside co-driver, Robin Friberg.
Jayant Shah and Ravi Chana have moved on from earlier issues and are now running in the top twenty, but the current highest placed runners from our four-car fleet on the 2017 Safari Classic are Richard Jackson and Ryan Champion, running second overall in the pink and silver ‘Welcome to Yorkshire’ 911. Ryan is one of our hugely capable Below Zero Ice Driving instructors and an important member of our driving coach line-up.
The duo set multiple fastest stage times through the first four days of the rally with Ryan behind the wheel and started day five this morning just 99 seconds behind the leader, Baldev Chager, in his BMA Porsche. Ryan gave us some insight into the state of play as they headed into the rally’s second half.
You are now running P2, just 99 seconds behind the leader. How has the rally been so far and what is the feeling at the halfway stage?
It’s a good position to be in and the car is in good shape. However, we still need to bring it home, so it’s a case of pushing hard on the smooth sections and looking after the car in the rougher tracks.
You’ve had a few hairy experiences on this year’s event. What’s the been the scariest moment to date?
Having no brakes for 75km was quite difficult, but I was managing okay until three giraffes walked to the side of the road. Thankfully they stayed still!
How does holding this position in such a prestigious and highly regarded event compare to your previous championships? Do you feel any pressure?
To get a result on one of the toughest rallies in the world would be great and certainly right up there with winning British Championship rallies, but still a long way from thinking about that!
Photos by Geoff Mayes/Mayes Media