V8 Capri snatches victory on final stage of nail-biting Safari Classic

| 29 Nov 2013

The drama of the East African Safari Classic Rally went down to the final competitive stage of the event. After nine days of ding-dong battles, the Ian Duncan and Amaar Slatch Ford Capri V8 Perana stole victory from the Porsche 911 of former World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist and Staffan Parmander in the Tuthill-prepped Porsche 911.

Duncan started the final day with a slender nine second lead and both his and Blomqvist were flying on the early stages, even dead-heating on one section.

The major turn came when the Swede overturned the advantage and went into the final stage with a healthy 38-second lead.

The drama was not over, though, and the 911 suffered a puncture just minutes from the finish ramp, losing four minutes and the lead, and allowing Duncan to take the spoils with a 3min 14secs cushion.

Duncan said: "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."

The Swede was stoic in defeat, but obviously stung by the nature of it. At the finish at the Whitesands Hotel in Mombasa, Blomqvist said: "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."

Duncan's victory was all the more impressive because Porsche 911 packed seven of the top 10 finishing slots with only the Perana, plus Steve Perez's Datsun 260Z and John Lloyd's Ford Escort Mk2, breaking up the Stuttgart dominance.

Third place on the rally went to the Belgian 911 crew of Gérard Marcy and Stéphané Prevot, ahead of the Perez and John Millington Datsun, which resisted a late charge from the Onkar Rai and Bladev Chager 911.

After a fierce finish preserved his fourth place, Perez was ebullient. He said: "I enjoyed today more than the whole of the rally. I pushed much harder today because those two Porsches were behind me and then I caught another Porsche on the last section. It’s been long and rough and I’m glad I’m here and very happy with fourth place."

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Pictures: McKlein