The East African Safari Classic Rally 2013 was held November 21-29, starting and finishing in Mombasa on Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast. The biennial rally saw more than 60 teams battle 4,100 kilometres (2,550 miles) of terrain that included the original sections used on this event’s famed predecessor, the East African Safari Rally.
When 1984 World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist’s Porsche 911 and the Ford Capri V8 of Ian Duncan started the last day of the East African Safari Classic Rally 2013, they were separated by just nine seconds with Duncan possessing the miniscule advantage. On the first competitive section — a run back through the Taita Hills in the Southwest of Kenya — almost incredibly these two drivers set equal fastest time with the stopwatch unable to separate them. Thus the gap remained nine seconds in the Kenyan driver’s favour.
But on the second section, the tide of fortune turned once again and this time it was in Blomqvist’s favour as he beat Duncan by forty-seven seconds and thus led the rally by thirty-eight seconds with just one competitive section before reaching the finish ramp at the Whitesands Hotel in Mombasa.
However, there was one major twist of fate still remaining in this extraordinary endurance rally for classic cars when Blomqvist punctured on the very last section and lost four minutes and the lead. Thus Ian Duncan and Amaar Slatch won the Safari Classic for the second time in four years to lift once again the hearts of their faithful Kenyan supporters. After this ongoing battle of seconds Duncan’s overall lead was 3 minutes 14 seconds over the Swedish crew. For Blomqvist, who said before the rally that he never had much luck on the Safari, this was a bitter blow when it looked as if Dame Fortune was finally going to smile on him in Africa.
Duncan commented, “Last time we won (2009) we were leading on the last day by 9 minutes, this time it was 9 seconds so today was stressful! Just because of that pressure it was much more challenging this year.”
Blomqvist was understandably disappointed, saying, “Of course it could have been a better day. We had a puncture in the last section not too far from the end and had to change it. It’s been close for the victory on other rallies I’ve done but not on a long, hard event like this.”
The Porsche 911 of 1979 World Rally Champion Bjorn Waldegard won the last Safari Classic in 2011 and this time the German marque almost filled half the entry list. Indeed, seven Porsches finished in the top ten places with only Duncan’s Ford Capri, Steve Perez’s Datsun 260Z and John Lloyd’s Ford Escort Mk2 to keep them company. In some ways, Duncan’s victory could be said to be a double victory for Africa since the Capri that he was driving was originally manufactured for Ford in South Africa.
Third place went to Belgians, Gérard Marcy and Stéphané Prevot driving — like Blomqvist and Parmander — a Tuthill-prepared Porsche 911. They had an unchallenged run to the podium and a complete justification of their intention, announced before the start, that they would be proceeding at their own pace. Just behind them, a strong charge from Onkar Rai and Baldev Chager in a Porsche 911 was held off by the Amigos Team Datsun 260Z of Steve Perez and John Millington with the British pair showing their mettle by beating the flying Kenyans on the last stage by over a minute and a half to preserve their fourth place overall.
Kenyan father-and-son crew, David and Alex Horsey, took sixth place in another Tuthill-prepared Porsche 911 with Safari Rally lover John Lloyd in seventh in a Viking Ford Escort Mk2 with co-driver Gavin Laurence. The remainder of the top ten places were occupied by Porsche 911s with Gregoire de Mevius and Alain Guehennec setting themselves a steady pace on the last day of this eventful rally and taking eighth place in a BMA Porsche 911. Kenyan crew Manvir Baryan and Jaswinder Chana claimed ninth place with the Belgian crew of Patrick Van Heurck and Alain Lopez rounding up the overall top ten in a Tuthill Porsche 911.
The battle for victory of this nine-day epic rally kept everyone holding their breath but the stamina and skill of all the crews must be celebrated. This year the East African Safari Classic crown remains in Kenya but there is no doubt that it will be just as hotly contested in two years time.
Similar to our 2009 and 2011 rally coverage, McKlein Photography also documented the 2013 running of the East African Safari Classic Rally. We split up the 160 pictures from McKlein into two galleries. The first gallery starting below features our favorite images, all displayed in the full-width view of Sports Car Digest, while the second gallery and complete race results can be found on the last page of the article and gives a comprehensive view of all the photographs.
East African Safari Classic Rally 2013 – Featured Photo Gallery
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