A good third day of the 2011 Kenya Airways East African Classic Safari Rally saw the Kick Energy Datsun 260Z of Steve Perez and Staffan Parmander successfully avoid a number of incidents with a variety of animals to set a string of top ten times.

The opening stage of the day was also the longest of the entire rally. At 154.44km, this section was the very same stretch of road where Steve broke his neck during the 2007 running of this rally. Neither a loose steering wheel nor a very close encounter with a donkey could deter Steve from finally completing this stage as he recorded the fifth fastest time.

The next two stages took in the breathtaking Mbulu Escarpment. With plenty of uphill hairpins and tight and narrow sections Mbulu 1 was not really ideal 260Z territory and yet Steve went on to set an identical time to team-mate Andrew Siddall of tenth fastest overall, which was quite amazing after 39km of competition. Again livestock kept Steve on his toes as this time a calf refused to move out of the way and the Datsun had to detour around it.

The final section was a high-speed 67km blast towards Ngorongoro Crater. Fourth fastest through this test has helped Steve claw back more time but the section was not without incident after a wildebeest chose to leap over the bonnet on a high-speed straight. During this stage Steve also received more ice driving tips from Staffan as they slithered through yet another mud hole!

At the end of the third day of action Steve was pleased with his performance and commented: “It’s been a good day overall. We’ve had some interesting moments with animals, especially the wildebeest in the third stage as that really had our hearts in our mouths. The first stage was where I broke my neck in 2007 and so it was especially pleasing to get through that without any major dramas. Staffan’s ice driving tips are helping a huge amount in the mud, at this rate we might tackle Rally Sweden next year!”

In the Gentleman’s World Rally Club (G-WRC), Steve took maximum points today after dramas cost Geoff Bell time when he caught a fellow competitor in the first stage and punctured whilst trying to pass. He then hit a tree and dropped substantial time, but still holds fourth overall. Andrew Siddall has been on a charge today and as well as equalling Steve’s time through CS8 has consistently set top ten times despite catching numerous slower cars all day long.

Day four sees the surviving crews head back to Kenya and on to Amboseli for a well-earned rest. Three stages, one in Tanzania and a further two in Kenya, make up the day’s action. Based on the recent wet weather the first section could be very tricky as it consists of copious amounts of thick volcanic sand which when wet, makes the going very difficult. Crews need to be alert through the two stages in Kenya as they are on the border of Amboseli National Park and plenty of wildlife wanders the area.

For further details please visit www.eastafricansafarirally.com

Pictures courtesy of Geoff Mayes.



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