C.E. - The Free Weekly Online Car Magazine


February 25-28

Starting and finishing in Nairobi the 1999 Safari Rally comprises of 3 legs. Leg one began on Thursday February 25th with leg 3, on Sunday 28th concluding the longest event on the championship calendar. Tommi Makinen last won this event in 1996. On recent form it will be a major challenge to the rest of the field to keep Tommi off the podium. Colin McRae will be hoping that reliability in the Ford Focus should enable him to score his first points for the Ford Racing Team. McRae is teamed up on the event with Norwegian Petter Solberg. The unfortunate Thomas Radstrom will sit out the event following a fall at his hotel in Nairobi last week which left him with a broken leg. Results of the longest and most gruelling event of the championship will be here next week. As we went to press (Fri 26th Feb), Sainz leads in his Toyota Corolla, followed by Burns in the Subaru and Colin McRae in the new Focus. There is a long way to go though!


Makinen's winning streak has finally been tarnished. From day one, it did not look like this was going to be his rally - 4 seconds down on Juha Kankkunen after the first competitive section meant 12th place overall for the usually-quick Mitsubishi. Things only got worse on Friday. The first stage of the day saw Makinen receiving 2 punctures and then wasting about 10 minutes unwrapping a tyre from his suspension - this dropped him to 14th place.

McRae & Grist in action in Kenya - click here to go to Mountune's Site - they designed the Focus' engine Photograph supplied by Avenue Communications
Makinen managed a 4th fastest time in the next stage, however, and then a 5th fastest, even with a broken cooling-fan blade, in the 4th competitive section. It seemed as if he may return to form when he pulled out an excellent fastest time on the final stage of the day. It did propel him to 5th overall - although a 20 second penalty was imposed as he came out of time control 2 minutes late. A further 30 seconds was added to this on Saturday for the same reason. This did not deter Tommi though as he stormed to second place overall, behind McRae in the surprisingly reliable & robust Focus.
Toyota did exceptionally well in Kenya with 3 cars in the top 6 Photograph copyright TTE
Makinen drove his heart out to finish 2nd behind McRae overall. Unfortunately, the Toyota Team had video evidence to prove that Makinen had received assistance with a puncture from spectators. His result was duly disallowed. It may be the rule, but we think it was a little unjust, having observed the effort Makinen and his team put in to get that far. Toyota, I'm sure do not feel too guilty as you can see, they now lead the championship. Sainz and Auriol in the Corolla WRCs battled it out between them all through the rally. The Toyota proved to be a very strong car - rewarding the team with 2nd & 3rd in the rally. However, the season has barely begun. The Focus, even after modification to accept a normal water pump, seems to be ultra-competitive.
Any car that can survive the Safari rally - only the car's 3rd race, remember - is certainly a competitor for the championship. Watch out for our report of the Portuguese rally - it begins on the 21st of March. The report will be here the Friday following, as usual. See you here...

Race No.
1 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Tommi Makinen / Risto Mannisenmaki Marlboro Mitsubishi Ralliart
2 Mitsubishi Carisma GT Freddy Loix / Sven Smeets Marlboro Mitsubishi Ralliart
3 Toyota Corolla WRC Carlos Sainz / Luis Moya Toyota Castrol Team
4 Toyota Corolla WRC Didier Auriol / Denis Giraudet Toyota Castrol Team
5 Subaru Impreza WRC Richard Burns / Robert Reid Subaru World Rally Team
6 Subaru Impreza WRC Juha Kankkunen / Juha Repo Subaru World Rally Team
7 Ford Focus WRC Colin McRae / Nicky Grist Ford Motor Co Ltd
8 Ford Focus WRC Peter Solberg / Fred Gallagher Ford Motor Co Ltd
9 Seat WRC Harri Rovanpera / Risto Pietilainen Seat Sport
10 Seat WRC Piero Liatti / Carlo Cassina Seat WRC
11 Subaru Impreza WRC Bruno Thiry / Stephane Prevot Subaru World Rally Team
12 Toyota Corolla WRC Ian Duncan / Dave Williamson Toyota Kenya
14 Mitsubishi Carisma Evo 5 Hamed Al Wahibi / Tony Sircombe Mitsubishi Ralliart
15 Mitsubishi Lancer Luis Climent / Alex Romani Valencia Terra Y Mar Team
16 Subaru Impreza 555 WRC 1997 Frederic Dor / Kevin Gormley F. Dor Rally Team
17 Mitsubishi Lancer Manfred Stohl / Kay Gerlach Manfred Stohl
18 Toyota Celica Jonathan Toroitich / Mahesth Saleh Jonathan Toroitich
19 Subaru Impreza WRC 1998 Emmanuel Katto / Peter Stone Emmanuel Katto
20 Subaru Impreza Hideaki Miyoshi / Eido Osawa Hideaki Miyoshi
43 Toyota Celica Turbo Galib Hajee / Sameer Nanji Galib Hajee
45 Toyota Celica GT4 Sailesh Shah / Farakh Yusuf Bimal Shah

1 Colin McRae / Nicky Grist Ford Focus WRC
2 Didier Auriol / Denis Giraudet Toyota Corolla WRC
3 C Sainz / L Moya Toyota Corolla WRC
4 Ian Duncan / Dave Williamson Toyota Corolla WRC
5 Peter Solberg / Fred Gallagher Ford Focus WRC
6 Harri Rovanpera / Risto Pietilainen Seat WRC

Click here to view the championship standings to date.
Swedish Rally Portugal Rally

[Contents] [Home] [News] [Features] [Car of The Week] [Motorsport] [A-Z]

Designed & maintained by caint.com