After the traditional mid-point ‘rest day’, the 2019 East African Safari Classic Rally returned to full speed today. Three stages were run, albeit the total distance was shorter than expected due to the cancellation of the longest section: a 155-kilometre stage that was rendered impassable by the recent heavy rains.
The organisers worked throughout the rest day to create a brand new route and that was run instead. Tuthill cars made a good show of it and all ran reliably. The end-of-day results show that our cars currently hold the top four positions and, as Richard’s latest video diary proves, things are quite relaxed on the ground. The latest YouTube instalment is below – here are a few quotes from some of the Tuthill drivers:
Kris Rosenberger (currently P1)
“We are trying to stay safe. Stig is not far behind and has been close all rally, but we are doing okay. We could never really have expected to be in the run for the win! To have someone like Stig behind me: that’s a great honour and he’s a great guy. He helped us change a wheel before in one of the stages: to get ready help like that is a great sign of respect and I must say he is a true champion.
“We were first on the road in the sections today and the helicopter was flying over head us. As he was so close, spectators could not hear us coming, because of the loud helicopter. So we would come up into a section and people would be looking up at the helicopter – we had to be really careful on that stage.”
Stig Blomqvist (currently P2)
“We had a bit of an issue in the mud holes today because it was misting and I was getting a lot of dust, so we lost a bit of time due to stopping and cleaning the inside. Otherwise, we had a good day – I don’t think we are really far off, so we will see what happens tomorrow.”
Roger Samuelsson (currently P4)
“I liked all the stages today and thought it was nice to do the same stage again. All in all, I think a lot of us have driven a little too hard and the cars are beginning to show that. It may be time to slow down a touch and get as many cars as possible through to the finish line.”
Eugenio Amos (currently P9)
“Three kilometres from the end of one stage, there was a 90-degree left which was not marked on the road book. We double checked but had to go by sight from then on, so it was not the quickest day. I’m happy overall. We’re now going slowly, waiting to see what the rest do tomorrow. We lost so much time today: the only possible way for us to make up positions is just to be careful and to keep the car together.”
Tomorrow is day seven and the competitors and crews cross back into Kenya, en route to their overnight stop at Voi Wildlife Lodge. Shorter stages are normal on border crossing days, so the cars face three sections totalling less than 220 kilometres: the 54-kilometre Magozoni/Old Korogwe stage, followed by a 91 kilometre stage starting in Mkomazi and finishing the day with 74 kilometres from Buto to Kifaru.