KCB Safari Rally 03 - 05 April 2009 - Kenya
The 2nd round of the ARC calendar, the legendary Safari Rally has always been a real classic on the ARC calendar for sure and 2009's challenge provided us with an epic and memorable event. For years the Safari has been known as the world's toughest rally and we never doubt that at all, whether during the days of the WRC or now. The Safari is more than just a rally, it is a real experience, it provides an epic challenge to drivers to push cars to the maximum through the demanding gravel stages. With so far James Whyte being the leader aboard the FIA ARC standings with 10 points, 2 points better than Emmanuel Katto in second position, this was to be a huge battle between the two indeed.
Fri 03-04-2009: Its too hot, the roads are more than dusty, the locals seem to be excited about the legendary event as usual. If you want to see how challenging this event is, then l suggest you ask guys who have tackled it before, now and again...it never stops testing us, our patience, skills and even mind set. The super special stage at Uhuru park is stormed by thousands of spectators, who get to see real rally artistry, when you combine fast cars with a dusty road you know what the out come is....just imagine a tornado clearing everything leaving the entire park for the dead. We manage to clock 3rd overall best with 1:09 mins, Kenya’s Baldev Chager and Alastair Cavenagh being the overnight leaders with 1:08 mins.
Sat 04-04-2009: We start preparations early enough on the first day of the real challenge, no one looks to be giving up yet but we all know that whoever gets to finish the Safari in one piece is truly a winner. Were to be flagged off in 9th only God knows why, its real intense pressure for the first car to invade the great rift valley lakes terrain, since it will be the one to clear most of the gravel first. But as the day folds, the real toughness of the Safari once again prevails, leaving no car untouched, a lot of punctures, broken shocks, clutch problems, engine over heating, in fact Leg 1A (around Lake Elementaita) only, claimed 7 cars including Riyaz Kurji's Subaru N8, so finally at the end of day 1 proper with 290.6kms spread over 6 competitive sections, we finally had to fringe into the top ten finishers.
Sun 05-04-2009: Everyone seems to be counting on there skills on this day, the final day of the Safari, which has so far left many drivers, crew members nodding there heads is on. Am hoping to maintain the pace, we don't want to be dropping points especially at this stage. We got the car radiator changed over night so the over heating issue is wiped out now. We've got 7 stages to take on, all around Athi River areas. Moses and l agreed to consolidate our focus on gaining ARC points other than anything else. After a long day's struggle, Moses was like, we quote him "every time i tackle the Safari Rally i am again reminded of how tough and savage the event is. Even the best preparations can quickly go wrong, this rally is all about survival. We are still learning the car and i’m confident that when we head home to Uganda we will be back on the pace".
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