Inmarsat Safari Rally : 12 July 2002
2002-07-12 - By Philip Byrne
Four-times FIA World Rally Champion Tommi Mäkinen has claimed an early advantage on the eighth round of this year's series, the Safari Rally, which started in Kenya today.
The Finn and his navigator Kaj Lindstrom set fastest times on two of today's four competitive sections to arrive back at the overnight halt in Nairobi 16 seconds ahead of Ford driver Colin McRae. That gap had been much larger, but the Scot fought back with a fastest time in the day's last stage to set up a close battle in the two days ahead.
After a ceremonial start in Nairobi yesterday, during which the cars were flagged away by HRH Prince Edward, today's opening leg comprised four competitive sections in the Suswa region. As predicted, the notoriously rough and long Safari sections took their toll on the world's top rally drivers. Current championship leader Marcus Grönholm was the first main retirement after just 17 kilometres of the day's first test, while Armin Schwarz, Freddy Loix, Petter Solberg and Francois Delecour were among the other top names to join the retirements list.
STARTERS: 48 crews (30 Group A and 18 Group N) started this morning.
RETIREMENTS: Gronholm (FIN), Delecour (F), Gardemeister (FIN), Loix (B), Schwarz (D), Solberg (N) and 9 other drivers. (CS4 still running)
Friday 12 July
Leg 1 started from Nairobi at 06h00 and covered 806.53km, including 336.48km on four competitive sections.
Saturday 13 July
Leg 2 starts from Nairobi at 04h45 and covers 943.52km, including 410.87km on five competitive sections. The first car is expected to arrive in Nairobi at 19h45.
WEATHER FORECAST: Staying clear, sunny and very warm.
CS1 NGEMA-KEDONG (73.63km)
1 Mäkinen (FIN) Subaru 36m 47.8
2 Radstrom (S) Citroen 37m 08.9
3 Martin (EE) Ford 38m 03.7
CS2 SEYABEI-KERRERIE (81.84km)
1 C. McRae (GB) Ford 37m 13.1
2 Solberg (N) Subaru 37m 27.7
3 Loeb (F) Citroen 37m 28.5
LEADERS AFTER CS2
1 Mäkinen (FIN) Subaru 1h 14m 28.8
2 C. McRae (GB) Ford 1h 15m 31.7
3 Eriksson (S) Skoda 1h 16m 35.7
CS3 ILDAMAT-NAILONGILOK (74.45km)
1 Makinen (FIN) Subaru 44m 23.6
2 Panizzi (F) Peugeot 45m 24.3
3 A. McRae (GB) Mitsubishi 45m 34.8
LEADERS AFTER CS3
1 Mäkinen (FIN) Subaru 1h 58m 52.4
2 C. McRae (GB) Ford 2h 01m 33.3
3 Sainz (E) Ford 2h 03m 20.2
CS4 NTULELE-KEDONG (106.56km)
1 C. McRae (GB) Ford 51m 00.2
2 Rovanpera (FIN) Peugeot 51m 31.2
3 Sainz (E) Ford 51m 52.0
LEADERS AFTER CS4
1 Mäkinen (FIN) Subaru 2h 52m 17.4
2 C. McRae (GB) Ford 16.1
3 Sainz (E) Ford 2m 54.8
4 Rovanperä (FIN) Peugeot 3m 37.1
5 Eriksson (S) Skoda 5m 52.4
6 Martin (EE) Ford 6m 34.2
7 Radstrom (S) Citroen 11m 00.8
8 Burns (GB) Peugeot 15m 43.1
9 Loeb (F) Citroen 18m 33.8
10 Kresta (CZ) Skoda 22m 06.0