Stig Blomqvist wins East African Safari Classic Rally 2015

Stig Blomqvist wins East African Safari Rally 2015
Stig Blomqvist wins Kenya Airways' East African Safari Rally 2015. Photo via Twitter / @KenyaAirways

Swedish driver Stig Blomqvist, navigated by Stephane Prevot in car no 3 has won this year’s East African Safari Classic.

He was congratulated on only his second African rally victory by his son on Twitter for fulfilling his “long held dream”.

He was followed by fellow Swedes Richard Goransson and Emil Axelsson in car no 6 who closely tailed the winner by a few minutes throughout each day.

However, today when they suffered a series of setbacks, leaving them 8 minutes behind, which saw them drop from their regular second place to outside the top ten in all stages.

“We had an eventful last day. On the way to the first stage the trip meter broke down, then the door wouldn’t lock, so had to drive the first section with it open. We had a slow puncture too. In the 2nd stage we got stuck in a mud hole, and in the 3rd the gearbox broke so we only had fourth gear, so many challenges. We are very pleased with the result for my second attempt at this event.” – Richard Goransson

Today’s race took the cars from Taita Hills back to Mombasa, taking the drivers down an iconic section that twists down into the Taita Hills, a fast midsection, and the rough Samuburu to Kasava stage.

Highest placed Kenyans were Alistair Cavanagh and Gavin Laurence, driving car no 10 who came 4th.

“It was a good result given the problems we have had. We had to nurse the car for two days, so it’s as good as can be. We have to start preparing for 2017 now!” – Alistair Cavanagh

Bernard Munster in car no 9 who came in 5th was very pleased with his result, especially since he towed his BMA teammate Gregoire de Mevius 17kms out of CS19 section on Day 8 after de Mevius hit a spectator’s car.

“He broke his drive shaft and his wheel was bent so we towed him to the end of the stage. We did it fast enough so we could keep our place – we went 80kms an hour over the jumps and everything with him behind on the towrope. I knew I couldn’t lose too much time as Cavanagh was behind me on the road, but didn’t want to leave de Mevius behind.” – Bernard Munster

Gregoire De Mevius’ managed to keep his grip on 3rd place for the final podium position.

Car 30, Frank Tundo is just coming out of the last section of the rally, but will likely get a time penalty. Just ahead…

Posted by East African Safari Classic Rally on Friday, November 27, 2015

The only non-Porsche in the top 10, owned and navigated by Ranjeet Sehmi and driven by Raaji Bharij, took 6th place.

“We had a great rally, we didn’t have even a single puncture. The only stoppages were due to mud during the whole rally. Day six we were fourth overall, and we have set some reasonably good times. We are top of our class, and the only non Porsche in the top 10.” – Ranjeet Sehmi

Tuthill Porsche British pairs Richard Jackson and Ryan Champion along with Steve Troman and Calvin Cooledge took 8th and 9th place respectively.

“We were fastest on the second stage and set some good times. Ryan drove particularly well and we would have been in the frame if we hadn’t had that distributor problem on Day 6. That brought us to a standstill across an 80k stage and we had to wait to be rescued. We pulled ourselves back and are pleased to be in the top 10.” – Richard Jackson

First cars near Mtwapa and heading for the finish…. pix from different sections by Pete Mayes

Posted by East African Safari Classic Rally on Friday, November 27, 2015

Final place in the top 10 went to Viking Motorsport’s Jan Hagman and Philip Clarke in car no 20.

“Its all about nice and steady and no mistakes. We had 3 punctures, 2 we changed, and one we ran on. We didn’t do anything stupid, and here we are.” – Philip Clarke

However, among the victors, there were casualties, in a rally that to date which has had the most breakdowns and incidents to date.

Kenyan Frank Tundo’s Car 30 of Frank limped out of the final stage behind Michael Kahlfuss’ Trabant 601R, which most people expected not to complete the rally due to its two-stroke engine and thin body.

He didn't come last! And he finished each section bar one. The very popular Trabant of Michael Kahlfuss

Posted by East African Safari Classic Rally on Friday, November 27, 2015

Fellow Kenya Aslam Khan, driving car 36, had a lapse of concentration which saw him go over the edge of a culvert, teetering suspended on his front two wheels. While being towed forward, they ended up rolling, which resulted in them dropping from 17th place to 33rd on Day 8’s overall tally.

“It was ridiculous, only 6kms from the finish and it took another 30 minutes to get it out. Brain failure after all these long and hard days.” – Aslam Khan

Car 17, driven by Swedish pair Joakim Roman and Jorgen Fornander was towed on the main road while Samit Gehlot’s car 38 drove the last 130kms on one gear.

Car 17 Joakim being towed on the main road and Car 33 Somen has a broken distributor cap

Posted by East African Safari Classic Rally on Friday, November 27, 2015

Jonathan Somen and Richard Hechle lost their distributor cap but in a great show of sportsmanship, they were helped by the Connollys in their green Porsche.

Roger Samuelsson drove a series of fast day 9 times including the 2nd fastest in the first section CS22 but following his first day crash, finished a lowly 41st place. “We are the fastest drivers in the worst position,” he laughed.

A total of 46 cars finished the rally. In order to qualify as completing you need to have completed four days of the eight days of the rally.