• “I have spent today trying to salvage the stage of Day 6. We have done several flyovers and there are two sectors that are literally underwater. I don’t feel safe putting anyone through that. The roads are impassable,” he said.
•Meanwhile, service crews took over the Classic the whole of yesterday to fix the damage occasioned by the current torrential rains as most crews members opted for tour rides and sight-seeing.
The longest East African Safari Classic Rally stage set for today has been cancelled after being rendered impassable.
Speaking on Monday at the rally’s headquarters in Tanga, clerk of course Raju Chagger said there are two sectors of the 155km stage which are impassable.
“I have spent today trying to salvage the stage of Day 6. We have done several flyovers and there are two sectors that are literally underwater. I don’t feel safe putting anyone through that. The roads are impassable,” he said.
Chagger has recreated the day’s route itinerary making sure drivers get the mileage as expected. “I have made a plan to run 3 stages again—two of the same and we have added a new one. We still have good mileage similar to one of KNRC rally distance. We are ok for Day 6 and the day after the stages are all good,” he added.
Meanwhile, service crews took over the Classic the whole of yesterday to fix the damage occasioned by the current torrential rains as most crews members opted for tour rides and sight-seeing.
Monday saw the service crew use the rest day to get the cars in condition well ahead of the second half of the event which starts in Tanga today. Due to torrential rains, the past four days of action have proved quite unforgiving with some front runners including Baldev Chager being forced to miss some stages due to adverse damage on their cars.
Jayant Shah retired with a fractured thump while Rommy Bhamra had issues with his gearbox but will rejoin the event in Voi on the seventh day.
Joe Hayes who is driving a Porsche 911 is hoping the second half will be kinder to the car.
“I have never been to Africa before. We watched the summaries of the 2017 though on video clips. Our goal is to finish and keep the car out of the ditch. We are in the top 15 and that’s good enough. The rest day will enable us to fix the problems most drivers have experienced with the rains.”
Ian Duncan has had to contend with teething problems on his Rover Vitesse but had a good day on Sunday. “The car works better at this altitude when we are coming downhill so it wasn’t so bad. Very nice stages on the fourth day, the last one was a bit mickey mouse for few kilometres but otherwise, it was fun. We just need some more power. What we have is a very standard engine but let’s see how the second half pans out.’
Robertson Samuelson (Porsche 911) said: “We are glad the rest day is here. We want to relax, maybe play some golf. As for the cars, they need a rest and some tender loving care. This is because, after three stages on Sunday, a lot has to be checked and then decide what needs to be done.
Osian Pryce in his Ford Escort has been one of the starts of the 209 editions of the Classic after winning the prologue which followed the shakedown last week.
“On Sunday, we put in some good times. We were second fastest overall, not something I was expecting. I mean the Porsches are something else with a lot more power. We had to be careful in the last stage. We assembled with the team and had to agree on how best to fix the car. The car has some few teething problems which we have sorted today (yesterday) on the rest day.
On Tuesday, the cars will tackle another 3 stages in Tanzania—one of which is an endurance stage of 155kms. They will then have stay overnight again in Tanga and resume competition starts at 9 am from Tanga Beach Resort. CS 13 Nzimwe to Kilulu will be a 58kms fast section with brows and twisty bends.
CS14 runs from Horo Horo to Magozoni covering 155kms and it’s a very challenging stage. “I think we may see some changes in positions in this section!” said clerk of the course Raju Chagar. CS15 will start in Mkanageni and end in Amboni after covering a competitive mileage of 35kms. This is a short, fast and twisty section.