East African Safari Classic Rally 2015: British team out after roll

John Lloyd and Adrian Cavenagh
British pair John Lloyd and Adrian Cavenagh have had to withdraw from the East African Safari Classic Rally

Kenyan driver leads the Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally 2015 at the end of stage 2, but it was misery for British pair John Lloyd and Adrian Cavenagh whose Ford Escort RS 1800 rolled in Stage Two, cracking the oil tank and forcing them to withdraw.

Fellow Brits, Nick Mason and Harpal Sudle, driving a Datsun 240Z (car 29), didn’t complete following an incident early into the stage and has yet to decide if he will continue.

They weren’t the only casualties of the first stage with Belgium’s Gerard Marcy and Eric Gressens also rolling their Porsche 911 in the second stage, but unlike the Brits, they are awaiting a decision to see if they can continue in the race.

Another Porsche 911 to roll was Roger Samuelson’s early into Stage One. Although damaged, his car has been judged fit to return to rally once repaired, although he has not made a decision as yet as to what to do.

The first day was dominated by changes and unexpected drama with a late night bulletin cancelling the third leg (section CS3) due to route deterioration and a submerged bridge.

However, this did little to dampen the excitement as early dampness on the road quickly dried off in the sun on Stage One. There was some changes in car order through the section with Geoff Bell moving up from his seventh place start to the lead in his Datsun 260Z. Second seeded Stig Blomqvist dropped to fifth place at the end of the first section in his Porsche 911, while other Porsches no 6 Richard Goransson and 10th starter Alistair Cavenagh took second and third place, with completion times of just over 30 minutes. Particularly impressive was car 46, the Ford Escort Mk 1 of Wissanji/Verjee who started last, but had made their way to 11th place by the end of the first Stage.

Them in the second stage, Stage One leader Geoff Bell’s Datsun suffered mechanical failure, and despite borrowing a fire extinguisher from Car 21 (Bharij and Sehmi) to extinguish the fire, they were unable to get themselves back into the rally.

The Second Stage was tremendously tough for the remaining vehicles, with many finding themselves trapped in the 800-meter long section of road that turned into a mud bath.

High water levels meant that by the time later rally cars came through the area, the water was almost windscreen high, but enterprising locals helped to rescue stuck cars, along with the rally tow truck. Despite their best efforts though, a jam developed with numerous cars suffering some sort of mechanical issue as a result of the water.

Despite covering his car with a waterproofing cloth, Frank Tundo’s Triumph also stalled. Jorge Perez Companc had a floating piece of wood caught in his wheel but managed to get through the water, but others were less fortunate and had to turn back.

At the end of the day, 32 cars out of the 50 that started this morning completed the day’s racing.

Porsche 911s dominated the leaderboard by the end of Stage Two with Kenya’s Alistair Cavenagh in pole position with a time of 1hour 36 minutes followed by Stig Blomqvist and Richard Grandson in second and third place respectively.

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