Day two of the 2011 East African Classic Safari Rally was a better day for the Vodka Kick Datsun 260Z of Steve Perez and Staffan Parmander as the pair avoided drama to record clean runs on both of the stages run today.

After the time loss incurred on the opening day of the rally yesterday, Steve was languishing down in 33rd position but the organisers, aware of his pace, opted to re-seed him overnight and thus he began day two running eighth on the road.

The first stage of the day, a 115km blast around Mount Kilimanjaro, was primarily dry but towards the end of the test the crews faced a three-kilometre mud hole that once was a road. Swedish co-driver Parmander turned driving instructor and using his experience of driving in the snow was able to guide Steve through. The Datsun slipped and slithered through the obstacles and onto the finish of the stage where they recorded their second top ten stage time of the event.

The second test of the day was cancelled after overnight rains flooded parts of the road and so the crews headed to an extended re-group before tackling the short 38km section six. This short route consisted of fast, flowing bends and, for a change, was completely dry. Yet another top ten time saw the pair rapidly climb up the leaderboard, but are still 1 hour 42 minutes off the overnight leader, Bjorn Waldegard.

Despite suffering from contracting man-flu, a very happy Steve commented at end of day service: “A much better day today! It’s a shame that the second stage was cancelled but even the organisers cannot control the weather. We were very lucky not to get stuck in the mud hole on the first section, Staffan was yelling and swearing at me to stay on the road and he really was a major asset again today in keeping us going!”

With the Datsun team suffering from overheating differentials, BTR are currently hard at work manufacturing makeshift diff coolers in an effort to help with the smooth running of the three Datsun 260Zs in the Kick Rally Team where Perez is joined by Geoff Bell and Andrew Siddall. Otherwise known as the Gentleman’s World Rally Club (G-WRC) these three drivers have their own ‘championship’ and in the standings, another victory for Geoff Bell gives him an additional five points whilst Andrew Siddall was left frustrated after getting stranded in the mud hole at the end of the first stage of the day.

Tomorrow’s stages see three stages run to the south east of Arusha and totalling over 240 kilometres. The first stage of the day is a mammoth 154 kilometres long and in 2009 had to be cancelled after torrential rain destroyed a number of bridges in the section. Just 15 hours before this stage is due to run this year the reports are that it is dry but overnight rain is expected and a final decision will be made in the morning.

The next two sections take in the breathtaking Mbulu Hills but the crews will have no time to take in the sights but instead will face obstacles such as long river crossings and steep drops off the side of the road, once again a stern reminder that this event is not for the faint hearted!

For further details please visit www.eastafricansafarirally.com.

Picture courtesy of Geoff Mayes.

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