It’s the end of day 5 in Kenya: the half-way stage of the 2009 East African Safari Classic Rally. Our efforts have not gone entirely according to plan but then, this is a marathon – not a sprint.
Despite some major interventions thus far (one of which took us from third to fifteenth place), all five Tuthill-prepared Porsches are still well in the game. Leading our charge in 6th place are Thomas Flohr and Didier Breton. Having suffered severe suspension damage on day 3, Marcy/Prevot have pushed hard to pull their way back up to 8th spot.
Troman/Cooledge continue to keep the faith in 10th position – a superbly measured drive from Steve. Jarry/Andreoli have had their work cut out for them so far, but are doing sterling work in 12th, while Aguirre/Mirasol hold steady in 18th. Positions at the end of day 5 can be downloaded here.
The incredible mix of surfaces and textures found on Safari is one aspect which often catches newbies out. Slimy surface mud is like ice: hit a patch of this stuff sideways at any kind of speed, and you’ll be in the landscape in less time than it takes to say “pendulum effect”. Then there is the sand, which engulfs cars, fills air filters, permeates wheel spaces, lodging rocks between brakes and rims, and enters bellhousings, freezing clutches solid. Let’s not forget water, wildlife, concealed tree stumps, ditches, dips and rocks. Everywhere you turn, something wants to wipe you out.
For the Tuthill Porsche team of drivers, mechanics and our extended support network, the challenging complexity is the great attraction of epic endurance rallies such as the East African Safari. It is the awesome adventure of racing rally cars over some of the world’s most inhospitable terrain: balancing speed with safety and surfing that slim divide between luck and judgement.
The Olympic gold medal-winning marathon runner, Emil Zatopek, once said: “We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 metres. If you want to experience something, run a marathon.”