Wednesday 23rd November, Day Four, Mount Meru to Ol Tukai
Day four of the 2011 Kenya Airways East African Classic Safari Rally was the best day yet for the Kick Energy Datsun 260Z of Steve Perez and Staffan Parmander. A second fastest stage time in the first section of the day was then bettered by a stage win on the very next stage.
The day began with a 124km stage utilising parts of the final stage of day three, but in reverse. Early on in the test Steve hit a double caution drift very hard, launching the Datsun into the air and bending the steering. Despite having to fight an ill-handling car for the rest of the section, Steve still recorded the second fastest time, beaten only by rally leader and former World Rally champion Bjorn Waldegard.
After the damaged components had been replaced by BTR during roadside service, the crew then crossed back into Kenya for the next pair of stages. Stage 11 was a stage of jumps and lots of them whereby in 87km Steve took 23 seconds out of Waldegard and recorded his first fastest stage of the event.
The final test of the day was a 112km run to Amboseli National Park. The adventure continued when Steve and Staffan were slowed by a herd of camels on the road. Later in the stage a mud hole caught the pair out and Steve went straight through an enormous thorn bush the size of a small cottage. Although this did not cost him much time the damaged thorn bush would catch the following car out, causing it to roll onto its roof.
A visibly pleased Steve commented whilst relaxing in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro: "A much better day today for sure. The big impact on the first stage was a rude awakening but we were lucky to get away with it. The second stage was so much fun, those jumps were awesome, a proper big balls stage! In stage three we met a herd of camels which really gave me the hump and then we had a bit of a moment at a mud hole and flattened an enormous bush, but all in all it has been a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to a relaxing day tomorrow."
After four hard days of rallying action, Steve has clawed his way back up to sixth overall and currently has another former World Rally champion, Stig Blomqvist, in his sights. Stig is only four minutes ahead with a further four days still to go. Tomorrow is a rest day where the drivers and co-drivers get to relax. However no relaxing for the BTR boys as they will strip down and thoroughly check all three of the Kick Energy Datsuns.
In the G-WRC, Steve took another victory and is now level on points with Geoff Bell. Steve has also informed Geoff that should the event result in a tie break then Geoff will have to compete on the Roger Albert Clark Rally in the UK in just two weeks time to decide the outcome of the championship.
Daily Total Kilometres: 530.66km
Event Total Kilometres to date: 2271.21km
Daily bulletins will be issued by the Vodka Kick Rally Team press office throughout the event. For further details please visit www.eastafricansafarirally.com