Day 9 of the London to Cape Town and the men are being firmly separated from the boys, using sand as a medium. The organisers expected a major shake up once the event left Europe and that is exactly what happened: the Tuthill Porsche is now up to 6th! Here’s the story:

Every dog has its day and today it would be a Dakar-style blast of grit, sand, lose stones, large stones that need dodging with care, ruts and smooth baked-hard clay, diving between gaps in the mountains, all the time heading for a long line of spiky shaped mountains in the far distance.

Crags with pyramids, it’s a row of mountains you get when you give a child of six a blue pencil, or open an original copy of Rider Hagard’s King Solomons Mines.  Route note descriptions go something like this, “keep close to cliff on left… go right of Acacia tree… straight on past yellow rock… avoid gulley before string of black boulders… head for trees on far horizon… keep small volcano on right.”

Emerging from all this was the Belgian Porsche 911 of Joost Van Cauwenberge & Jacques Castelein who set fastest time, dropping just 8 seconds. Steve Blunt and Bob Duck in the non-turbo black Subaru Impreza was nearly two minutes behind on 2m05s, and third best was the BMW M535i enjoying a good run, nearly four minutes behind the time set by the 911.

Andy Actman’s Toyota Truck was fifth, just under four minutes adrift, behind the fourth-best Rene Declercq and Francis Tuthill, who stopped to pull out the Maestro girls at one point.

Crews were at a comfortable hotel for a meal and a few hours break, at midnight they left for the port and the crossing of the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia. Another first for this event, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has never before ever hosted an international rally crossing its territory.

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It’s the end of Day 5 on the 2012 London to Cape Town Rally. No news from Francis Tuthill in the Toyota Hi-Lux, but I can tell you he was lying in 19th position at the end of Day 4: one place behind the Porsche 964 Carrera 4 of Tomas Premosil and Lukas Kuttler.

Further towards the front, the Tuthill-built 911 of Joost von Cauwenberge and Jacques Castalein is going very well, with three World Cup stage wins and two second places in nine stages up to the end of Day 4. The final stage of day three was their only problem, when a navigational error cost them dearly, bringing them across the line in 31st position.

No results are yet available for the end of today, but the pair finished Day 4 in tenth position overall, a solid result underlining their competitiveness. Four places back is the Porsche 912 of our friends Alastair Caldwell and Hayden Burvill.

The pair have had a steady start to the rally – Alastair had barely driven 50 kilometres in the 912 before the rally preamble in Brooklands last Sunday – but he has been settling in well, scoring his best position of the event to date in yesterday’s World Cup stage: a very sweet fourth place.

Today was the toughest day of the rally so far, with 470 kms to cover and some tricky stages in the Greek countryside. The top ten went wrong on the final stage, giving our 912 friends a helping hand up the order. Tomorrow is an incredible day, with no less than six flat out stages and a 500 km drive to the midnight ferry to Egypt. You know it’s going to bring some casualties.

Day 7 is a rest day, the only one until Nairobi in Kenya: ten days and 5,000 kilometres away. Can you believe they paid to do this event?! (pics here by Gerard Brown)

Donate to Race4Change and help change lives through your love of rallying!

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Yesterday, as the world rang in the year of the London Olympics and US Presidential Elections, forty-four rally cars & crews assembled at the Brooklands Motor Museum for pre-rally safety checks and briefings before the start of the 2012 London to Cape Town World Cup Rally.

2,000 members of the public paid to get in to the museum, see the cars and meet the crews in the once-famous circuit’s pre-war race-bays. At 4pm, the cars were flagged away to drive to the Official London Start, where they lined up in the House of Lords car park in Parliament Square. As Big Ben struck 7pm, the drivers began the long journey to Cape Town, South Africa.

After a night navigation section through Kent with some slippery forest stages, the crews caught the 3:40am Dover to Calais ferry on the longest non-stop section of the marathon. Next stop Beaune, where they are tonight and where they undergo the first reseeding. The Tuthill Porsche of Belgians Joost and Jacques (below) did particularly well in the two forest stages run on Day 1: more of that later.

Their route takes in three Continents, and 14 countries, covering 14,000 kilometres. Part 1 drives across Europe before taking a ferry from Greece to to North Africa. After Egypt, the route moves on to Saudi Arabia and on to Jeddah. From Jeddah, the event crosses the Red Sea to Sudan, then a day’s run into Ethiopia.

A stunning mountain road runs from the frontier deep into Ethiopia and on towards Kenya. Here, they cross a demanding desert track and on to Nairobi for a day off. Then it’s south to Tanzania, driving from Arusha to Dodoma, and continue heading south for Zambia, where the local Motor Federation will organise some time trials in the plantations around Lusaka.

After taking in the splendours of Victoria Falls at Livingstone, the rally traverses the Caprivi Strip: the narrow passage of land that takes drivers into Namibia (lots of gravel roads here). After Namibia, it is into South Africa and on to Clanwilliam – gateway to the Cederberg Mountains – before finishing in Cape Town.

This is the first rally to stage a timed drive with the clock ticking every day from Europe to Cape Town without recourse to airlifts or special shipping. The only boats involved are scheduled ferry services, in a route that aims to keep the wheels turning all the way. Results will be clocking up daily: the successful survivors going home with trophies at the end of a unique adventure.

Keep up with all the rally news on the Ferdinand Porsche Magazine & Daily News Blog.

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A quick post to say Happy Christmas to all of our friends and fans, wherever you may be.

I had hoped to bring you a little story from the Nairobi slums of how they are spending Christmas but the carrier pigeon let me down. So instead we will just remind you how much we appreciate all of your help this year. We hope to bring you more Race4Change action in 2012, along with some idea of how the donations we received on Safari Rally will be divided over the coming year.

The picture is from Joe’s Friends who bring toys to Kenya during Christmas. We support organisations like Joe’s Friends in their methodology: we do. But we prefer to empower people and give them a hand up, rather than a handout. There is room enough for both our visions in the million-strong slums of Nairobi.

Seasons greetings to all – keep smiling and keep donating!

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As if 2011′s toughest-ever Safari wasn’t enough of a challenge for the rest of one’s life, Race4Change Porsche guru, Francis Tuthill, is currently gearing up for the London to Capetown Rally, which starts in Parliament Square on New Year’s Day. He’s co-driving a Toyota HiLux, and competing against a Belgian crew in a Tuthill 911. This one:

London-Capetown promises to be an amazing event. There are 44 entrants, from 10 countries. Classes break down thus: “shopping cars” hatchback class, two classes for classics: up to two-litres and over two litres, and two classes for 4x4s, with Toyota Landcruisers and HiLux, a Land Rover Defender, two Jeeps, a Subaru and a Porsche 911.

The organisers say cars are coming from far and wide: one from Canada, one from America, and four from Australia, including the oldest car: a 1923 Vauxhall for a father-and-son crew, who probably have the toughest challenge of all.

The route takes in three continents and fourteen countries, covering 14,000 kilometres. Countries include Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia, and South Africa. The race begins in London on January 1st, and finishes on Cape Town’s Waterfront, 29 days later.

The cars leave town from 7.30pm on Jan 1st. We’ll be in London from 5pm-ish with Francis, the Belgian 911 crew of Joost Van Cauwenberge and Jacques Castelein (see pic), and our friend Hayden Burvill from WEVO in the USA, who will be co-driving a Porsche 912 on the event. Also taking part in a Peugeot 504 is Jean-Louis Juchault, who drove with our man Funk on the 2009 Safari Rally: the inaugural Race4Change event all those years ago!

If you’re in town and looking for something to do, then come and say hello. It would be great to meet some R4C supporters!

We’ll be following the rally on and off all through January as the R4C blog winds down after Safari – keep in touch with what we’re doing and don’t forget to donate to our appeal for help in empowering the women of Africa. Every little helps! We’ll be sharing how your money has helped some wonderful people lift their their lives out of poverty very soon.

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Our final video – a recap of the Race4Change action surrounding our 2011 Safari Rally campaign – is now up on our Youtube Channel.

The video shows all of our team in action: Steve Funk, Andrew Doig, Travis Pastrana, Fabrizia Pons, Björn Waldegård, Njiru, Nary Ellen, Richard Tuthill and the rest.

Note Funk’s personal word of thanks to all of you who supported us through this rally of women’s empowerment.

If you’ve not donated to Race4Change yet and you want to do so (you know you should!), then do it now on the donate page, or text RACE to 50555 and give us $5 of your change to help the enterprising minds of Africa. Many of our Kenyan friends and the people your donations support are seen in this video: we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.

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Race4Change main man Travis Pastrana has this week been competing for Team USA at the 2011 Race of Champions in Düsseldorf, Germany.

The Race Of Champions has been staged every year since 1988, founded by IMP President Fredrik Johnsson and Michèle Mouton, the world’s most successful female rally driver. It takes place on a specially constructed asphalt circuit, most recently at the Stade de France in Paris (2004-2006), London’s Wembley Stadium (2007-2008) and the Beijing National Stadium (2009). The 2011 event took place on a specially constructed Tarmac circuit, with two parallel lanes winding their way round Düsseldorf’s ESPRIT arena.

Travis has a mighty history at the Race Of Champions. In 2005, he made it to the semi-finals, knocked out by Sébastien Loeb in his own Citroën rally car; despite a broken leg sustained in a freestyle motocross exhibition jump at the same event. The next year, he single-handedly took Team USA to the ROC Nations Cup final after both Jimmie Johnson and his replacement Scott Speed were injured just before the event.

For 2011, Travis was paired with Brian Deegan, fellow X Games Rallycross competitor. Sadly, it was not Team USA’s turn his year, but Travis managed victory of another kind. Here’s a video of Travis handing the flag to two-time Formula 1 World Champion, Sebastian Vettel:

OUR RACE GOES ON – DONATE TO RACE4CHANGE

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Just unearthed a few more great East African Safari Classic Rally news round-up videos. Also found a few in Swahili that I might post later: they have some different footage in them.

Enjoy these and keep donating to Race4Change: our race does not end with the 2011 Safari Rally! Remember you can donate $5 on your US cellphone by texting RACE to 50555.

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Great post by Funk, sent from his Kenyan decompression tank after a tough ten days on the Safari Rally:

Just finishing 36 hours of a decompression in the hills north of Nairobi at a friend’s home and reserve.  We invited Ian Duncan (below) and the Tuthills to join us.  We’ve had a wonderful time and, I have to say, Ian Duncan is somewhat the Kenyan version of Travis Pastrana in kindness and humility.  He has a wonderful sense of humor, knows where he is going, and has a view of how he is going to get there.

I’ve always said, if you can see it, you can be it – and both he and Pastrana have the ability to see and be.  We are going to promote Ian coming to North America as the record holding 6 time Kenyan National Rally Champion to do some event with TP in the coming year.

We’ve had a wonderful time listening and learning to and from Francis and Richard Tuthill and Ian Duncan.  And, great laughs about the little trash talk banter he and I had on the final day.

Ian and I both had a mechanical problem that cost us some serious time during the race.  Me, a broken torsion bar (the Tuthill’s will now forge their own torsion bars given 3 failures on 9 cars this race), and Ian a rear axle problem.  Thus, we found ourselves, still admirably in 8th and 9th place respectively.

Ian told me to polish me mirrors and came up in the holding area and bumped me from behind (starting right behind me).  I told him that he might be able to convince me to sponsor him in his upcoming events (meaning don’t pass me).  He told me it wasn’t needed and we were “on” for a run.

Ian was 11 minutes behind me with over 200 km of competitive section to go on the final day.  He could easily make up that time with good runs.  I was hoping to hold him off and hold my 8th place position.

In the first section, I ran second overall, he third.  In the long second section, which was the game maker, I ran 1st overall.  Each day I had become better by watching and learning from these guys as I became more understanding of the car and the terrain.

As Ian pulled up, I was wiping my mirrors and telling him I didn’t happen to see him, somehow must have missed him.  The push moved us both to 6th and 7th place respectively overall.  We’ve had the greatest of laughs and a wonderful time hanging out the last couple of days.  He is a gentleman of a competitor, and a competitor he is.

OUR RACE GOES ON! DONATE TO RACE4CHANGE

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Throughout the 2011 Safari Rally, Race4Change and Ferdinand Porsche Magazine pushed large numbers of users towards the Safari Rally’s live tracking tools, overlaid with Google Earth. We used it every stage and found it invaluable in keeping up with progress and relaying information to the team on the ground. Safari have just released a press statement claiming over a million users during the event: that is good stuff! Here’s the story:


The Safari rally has always been known for its popularity with spectators and the Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally has carried on this tradition. This was apparent not only in the number of people out watching the rally itself, but also in the number of people who were following the rally virtually.

This year, for the first time, the East African Safari Classic Rally employed a safety tracking system so the progress of all cars could be followed and watched by the organisers. This is primarily for safety reasons, but it also allows all those friends, families and general Safari fans to watch the rally in the comfort of their own home. The service was available via Google Earth on the East African Safari Classic Rally website and its popularity was astounding.

“On the second day we noticed the performance of the web server was very slow,” said Peter Silberberg, MD of Rally Management Systems who provided the safety tracking. “And we realised all the memory available on the server was being used. We looked at the activity log file for the first two days and saw that it had shot up to 80GB. There is no direct way to translate this into numbers of users but, to give you some idea, for a normal World Rally Championship event we will typically have about a quarter of a million users and we only use 3 GB over three days. We reckon we had millions of users rather than hundreds of thousands.” Indeed emails were arriving from all over the world to thank the organisation for the system.

After eight days of rallying through true Safari conditions, the crews and service teams are now winding down from the buzz of competition. However, as they return to normal life, their memories of this year’s Safari rally will undoubtedly remain with them. In the words of Eric Cecil who founded the East African Safari Rally in 1953: “To sleep, sleep and perchance to dream…….OF THE NEXT SAFARI.”

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