Friday 25th November, Day Six, Ol Tukai to Naivasha Sopa
After a well deserved rest day, the action resumed on day six of the 2011 Kenya Airways East African Classic Safari Rally with Kick Energy Datsun 260Z driver Steve Perez eyeing just one target; to catch former World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist.
However, after three of the wettest sections seen on this rally in recent years, Steve and co-driver Staffan Parmander were just relived to make it through to Naivasha under their own steam.
The first stage of the day began from Amboseli National Park and heavy overnight rains had quite literally turned the roads into rivers. So deep was the water that it was entering the car through the sills and every time the Datsun hit a jump, Staffan received an ice cold shower of water! Despite these distractions the pair still managed to set the fourth fastest time on the stage.
The second stage was not very long at 48km but more standing water would catch Steve out as the Datsun aquaplaned through an enormous puddle and spun backwards into a mud bank. With the exhaust buried in the mud the car refused to start and Steve dropped over six minutes extracting the car.
Although very wet and muddy, the third stage held no dramas for Steve and Staffan although Steve was surprised to encounter fog mid way through the section. Fifth fastest on this stage has helped Steve maintain his sixth place overall and with three more days to go anything can happen.
A rather muddy Steve said at the end of the day: "It was as if we were in Wales today, we've had rain and fog so I feel really at home! I never thought I'd be driving a Datsun 260Z down rivers but we did today and it was quite good fun. Well done to my team-mate, Geoff Bell, for taking the lead in the rally but annoyingly he also re-takes the lead in the G-WRC. I definitely need to make amends over the next three days!"
In the self-styled Gentleman's World Rally Club (G-WRC) team-mate Geoff Bell won the day and retook the lead. Geoff has also taken the lead in the rally after Bjorn Waldegard hit a non competing vehicle and damaged his car but has continued despite losing a lot of time.
Day seven tomorrow sees the crews head up towards the very scenic Lake Baringo for three stages. The first test is very fast with a number of hidden drifts to catch out the unwary. The second section is around the lake and crews must be careful to avoid puncturing their tyres on the many rocks scattered around the route. The final stage includes the highest section of the entire rally. At 2300 metres above sea level the route passes through a famous landmark in Kenyan rallying. God's Bridge is a narrow man-made bridge crossing over an extremely steep ravine and this entire test is not for those who are afraid of heights as it drops rapidly back down into the Great Rift Valley.
Daily Total Kilometres: 353.97km
Event Total Kilometres to date: 2625.18km
Daily bulletins will be issued by the Vodka Kick Rally Team press office throughout the event. For further details please visit www.eastafricansafarirally.com