We now drive off. We are driving sensibly and
that´s the most important thing. First, it´s great fun, but it´s tough
in there when everything is a mess. There have been a lot of problems… Safari mech. On every stretch of road there is always
something that shakes loose or something happens. We were driving on a straight stretch of the stage
and all of a sudden a part of the road was gone. 70 kilometres (43 miles) without one front wheel
and almost everything is broken. The Safari rally is not only a challenge on the roads
but also everything else Three elephants walked across the road. You are not very sassy then.
They are very big … It´s fantastic – it´s safari! To be back in Africa, Mombasa Kenya,
is a fantastic feeling! It was not something to be counted on
when we were here in 2013 – – on our then brand new project Race4Health
and were close to victory. We are going for victory with two of our cars – – and then there are three more cars
that are welcome to compete. The Safari rally is a fantastic event – – where you drive 4000 kilometres
through Kenya and Tanzania – – on the most unimaginable roads – – that ordinary safari tourists never get to experience. Long live our navigator, Per! Hooray, hooray, hooray … It´s a competition where
everything can happen. It makes no difference
how you prepared yourself. The weather might cause everything
to change pretty fast. Also, it is always tough to complete the rally
without any major problems. In small villages, there are Masai
staring at us suspiciously – – and also many children coming out
from schools cheering us on. Above all, many wild animals: giraffes, zebras,
numerous cows, and goats, and many others. It is not enough to keep a check on your driving and the
road, but also on what´s going on around us in nature. If there is a problem and you need to stop – – it just takes a couple of minutes until the car
is surrounded by hundreds of people who just turn up from nowhere.
They are always willing to help if they can. I have participated in the rally once
and that was in 2013. If I look at the experience as a whole,
with the natural scenery and the competition – – and everything else, it is the best
motor experience I´ve ever had. In 1971, I drove Saab the first time and then
a whole lot with Audi, Ford and Nissan. I must have driven around ten times and now
it´s the fifth in the classic safari. It´s is great fun to be back in Africa. We are the same crew, but, sadly,
we miss the legend Björn Waldegård – – whom I met for the first time two years ago – – a fantastic person who died of cancer
two years ago, far too early in his life. When people in the villages talked about rally,
they talked about Waldegård. It is fantastic to see how people miss him here. Yesterday, when we delivered eye glasses
in a small village, I asked – “Do you know about the Safari Rally?”
“Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!” “Do you know about Björn Waldegård?”
“YEAH, YEAH, YEAH!” He was a fantastic partner and a great friend. We worked sida by side
for 14 years and 200 days a year. Porsche first and then Toyota,
Ford, Mercedes and Citroën. The best thing with the seventies was the
Safari victory for me and Björn together. 1979 was the year with a World Champion
title for the driver and navigator. Earlier it was only for the car manufacturers. The major competitor was Hannu Mikkola and we were
team mates both in Ford and Mercedes – – and our last competition was in the Ivory Coast,
the so called Coupe Decale rally. We were a few points ahead.
If Mikkola won, we could be no worse than second. We were successful and won the
World Championship by one single point. I think that was Björn´s greatest success at least
from what I experienced with him. For my part, it´s my first time in Africa
without Björn and it feels strange. I have no one to talk to and ask about those special
tricks because he really was Mr Safari. He spent a lot of time here in Africa in
both rallies and test driving. So what he didn´t know about the competitions
wasn´t worth knowing. Björn took his time to talk with everyone,
competitors, spectators, fans. He gave advice to drivers who participated for the first
time, regarding the choice of tyres, for example – and he always shared his knowledge with others. We were competitors but we shared
the information we got. The main thing was to drive not to cause
trouble by incorrect information. Björn was honesty personified so there were never
any problems with asking about things. This is a small tribute to Björn Waldegård. It was Björn who helped me
form Team Tidö in 2008. I might add that there are other forces
as well that have taken us here. There is a big empty hole after Björn. I did my first competition with Björn Waldegård. What is the worst rally to
participate in, I asked him. He answered, the East African Safari Rally.
Well, let´s go there some day, I said. Björn always brought out-grown clothes
from his children to give away. He also asked for clothes at clothing companies. Team Tidö are making great contributions and
I hope they will continue doing so. Björn liked the Team Tidö concept
to deliver eye glasses and such things. In my opinion, Björn was a great man! Here we are, ready to go.
We have everything ahead of us. The weather will have a significant
effect on the result – – and also whether we will be lucky
with regards to the mud holes. I´m keeping in mind what both Björn
and Stig told me in 2013: “Let the rally come to you!”
We did that last time and we will do the same this year. It´s very tough. This is actually
the toughest rally in the world. It´s not enough to be a good driver. You have to
be in good physical condition as well. That is absolutely no problem… We had to take it easy for a while. We got a triple warning but it didn´t exist and
then you don´t know when it comes. But everything went very well.
It was stable. It´s slippery. With the Porsche,
you cannot let the accelerator up – because that´s like applying the handbrake. You can
not step on the accelerator, it´s like the handbrake. You have to give a little gas and then you need
to have experience and be daring. We are not really there yet on
the first stage of the eight days. That was a nasty crash! We were driving on a straight
stretch of road and then part of the road was gone. We hit the chassis, had a throw
and flew off the road. The car hit the ground and then up and we rolled
over twice and landed 50 metres away. Of course you are shaken
after an incident like this. If I compare with last year,
Roger has developed a lot as a driver. Unfortunately, the road
was washed away. – Do you think you will be able to
continue or is this the end? No, we´ll have to check the cage. If the cage is OK,
I think we will be able to put it all together. With this year´s safari rally approaching, we have
strongly gone in for Race4Health. That is not an attempt
to change the world. We only want to use this
platform to do something good. We have now just arrived at the village Mikari
and this is our first eye test. We don´t know how this will work out but
we are incredibly well received. We are having a rest day so we can bring cars
and Christer is coming with us, too. It´s fantastic to come to a village like this and it´s
obvious that everyone has been told to behave well. They are all standing so
quietly just watching. With us from Bålsta Optik are Anders and Ann-Mari who
have collected eye glasses during the whole autumn – – and now it is all starting. We´ll see how it works out.
It´s really cool! When we come with our car
on the tricky road – – the children in particular rushed out waving and when
we reached the school we couldn´t our eyes. This is our first stop and to witness
the happiness we cause… Our first patient was an elderly woman. She cried out when she got her pair of eye glasses,
got up and hugged Ann-Mari. I realized then that this is something fantastic. We had the opportunity to join Race4Health for this
project and we didn´t want to miss that chance. We collected around 2000 pairs of glasses which we
cleaned and then we decided to make the journey. And now we are here. Yes, it has been brilliant.
Stig is second and Richard third. What more can you ask for? I think Stig was
eighth car on the first stage. He is sly, he just lies there waiting… It´s the first day of the competition. It´s not a life-and-death struggle
so you can just keep driving – – and make sure things work and
try not to make any mistakes. It has been an exciting
first day in Africa. We´ve had two problem free stages.
We succeeded in getting through the mud holes. Unfortunately, on a stage with
a lot of mud holes – – we had to wait behind a car that got stuck
twice before we dared to drive down. So we lost a lot of time on this stretch.
But that is what safari rally is all about. That will probably happen everyone
at some point during the rally. We dealt with that during the first day. It´s gone well, I think.
Some water and rather slippery. The car sank down so deeply that we had to ask people
to help us to lift up the car to be able to start the engine. We were pushed in a mud hole. We are the tenth car
on the stage. We were able to start the engine. It was wet. There is water in the car but it
is beginning to disappear. There was water up to here. There were many nice
people who helped us to push the car. One shock absorber is gone so we had to drive
more slowly the last 40 kilometres. A lot of traffic, a rather good road except for
20 kilometres in the middle that were awful. We have been careful during the first couple of days
just to get into the rhythm of things. So much happens.
Yesterday, half of the line-up broke. We can speed up but we
want to have some margins. A really good stage. Unfortunately, we were
behind a car about half of the stage – – and that was annoying for David in particular. – Were you so angry that
you removed the rear-view mirror? David gets angry.
I try to focus on the roadbook. My role as a navigator is to give Richard the information
he needs to drive fast and safely for both of us. So if I start up here:
In 90 metres, we will pass a crossroads – – and 300 metres from there you
turn right at a crossroads. It gives information on where
to go and the condition of the road. But sometimes there are big triple warnings
and double warnings; the road changes. For example, here there is a ditch and a wash-away
after the heavy rain. Triple warning. The road is totally gone and if you
miss that the rally will be over. There is trust between us. I count down and Richard
drives on at full speed until there is 200 -300 metres left – depending on the speed. The next thing is 600 metres
away and I count down to that one. You get the Road book the day
before it´s time for the next section. You go through the information and highlight where
there are road changes, short measurements – – and things that might take you by surprise.
In addition to that, we also get information on – – whether the road has changed.
The Road book is made three months in advance – – but rain can change the road overnight.
For instance, you get a triple warning blind ditch – – double warning of ditch wash-away.
You put in that information, high-light with a lot – – of color.
You have to be vigilant and in great form. One day we had a stage that was very difficult
to navigate; short measurements – – 300 metres to the next thing;
then you really have to be in great form. On those occasions it´s more about
navigation than driving. If you make a wrong turn, you´re gone.
You lose a lot of time. To be going at 200 km/hour looking down at the trip
meter and counting down 500 left, 400 left, 300 left – – it is not possible to look at the road.
You trust the driver blindly to make his decision – – based upon that information.
And then you reset the trip meter and start counting – – down to the next measurement.
Sometimes you see a lot because it´s five kilometres – – and sometimes one thing follows upon the other
and it´s 100 metres, 200 metres, 300 metres… Then it´s really important to be in great form
and navigate to make it right. Apart from the Road book and the navigation on the
stage, you have to find your way between the stages. In addition, you have to know
your car to a certain extent. If something breaks, you should be able to fix
that at least tolerably so you can get through that stage. The cars are strong but if you have a flat tire, you have
to get out and change tires during the rally – – which should be done in two minutes so you can get
back on the road ahead of the car behind you. Then that car gets all the dust which
reduces the time you lost. Harmless mischief! To be a navigator is fantastic!
It´s something I have wanted do since I was 5. To be here in the Classic Safari Rally that I have
dreamt of since I was a young boy is magical! We are now at the finish line
after the second stage. Unfortunately, we had a bad start. Our clutch didn´t work
so we had to start the car on the first gear – – and the start engine. After a while we were able to get in the fourth gear
and then drove on that gear the whole stage. That was annoying because the
stages were long and fast. Ten kilometres before the finish line
we misjudged a hole – – and rolled over. It was a very fast stage and we had a good drive.
No problems at all. Everything was running smoothly. Halfway through, with about 50 kilometres left, there
was a double warning on a ditch which we missed. We thought we had passed it when heading for
the next curve and there it was. The only thing to do was to steer through.
There was a bang. A dead stop so to speak. I was looking down into the Road book and was unprepared for it. We lost a wheel after a while and drove 50 kilometers
plus the stage to the service park on three wheels. But we made it here! The recoil hurt my shoulder. We had a dead stop.
We were not going that fast, 50-60 kilometres an hour. I´m grateful for today´s
safety equipment. – Ten minutes´ difference.
How much is ten minutes in this world, Stig? Nothing, really. You have a stop
and ten minutes are gone. Ten minutes sound a lot, but the roads are rather rough.
If something breaks, ten minutes is not much. This is a lot about not giving up.
You want to finish and fight against all odds. We have driven 70 kilometres on three wheels.
It´s impressive that the car lasted to the service park – – but that the service men were able to put
the car together is against all odds. I got some medicine and pain killers from the
doctor in the team, so I am fit for fight again. It´s fantastic what we can do
with Race4Health. We are now in Tanzania making people happy.
I would say it is something very unique. During the rally we´re transported to our destinations
and we have watched the end of one stage. That´s all we´ve been able to do. We have been
transported and made vision tests the whole time. But it is great fun! Overwhelming, but it is great fun to be able
to help and to witness their happiness. There are so many used glasses in people´s
drawers that nobody uses. We even put ads in newspapers asking for glasses
and telling people about our project. It was overwhelming to watch people handing in
old glasses which are now proving useful. I think it is important to be able to help people. They need support and cannot get hold
of glasses or get help elsewhere. It´s moving to see how a little idea can give such an
incredible result; that so little there is so much here. Today it´s uncertain whether we will have enough time
for everyone. There is a long, long queue – – and it would probably take until 9 or 10 pm and
that wouldn´t work because of the darkness. It´s not easy. There is a lot of cataract, dry eyes, perhaps
infections, so it´s difficult with a screening like this one. For most of them it is not possible
to see an ophthalmologist. Race4Health is only a word not an
organization. Anyone can use it. The main thread, though, is to do
something with the motor sport. It´s not a matter of conscience.
Use the name and do something good if you can. We do some projects here and there
and it gives results. This is a typical example of being
able to measure results. I spoke with the manager and he asked,
“Could you please extend this till tomorrow as well?” We will try to do that. There are many elderly here who have suffered
from bad eye sight for a long time – – who are now getting a new life! It totally changes their quality of life. I am so proud of this and grateful to Anders
and Ann-Mari for the work they have done. Today we have a day of rest so we are going to a safari
to watch all kinds of animals in Ngorongo National Park. To be the tour guide of this group today
is rather easy. They look quiet today. Richard Göransson is a fighter who has a warm
personality in spite of always wanting to win. It makes no difference if he drives a race or a rally car,
runs or bikes. He has an incredible winning instinct. He will do everything
he can to win this – – and my biggest fear right now is that
Stig and Richard have an incident and crashes – – because they are competing against each other.
I hope they will back off a little. There are no team orders. It´s a fantastic feeling that the little Swedish team
is at the top; first and second. It would be a disaster if we knock out
each other. One of you shall win! Then we´ll have a chance, David! The way it is now, we compete together against
each other and fight against each other over first place. But to me this is Stig´s rally.
But of course we are competitors. Stig actually helped me in my career when I started
competing back home in Sweden. I´ve asked him
about a lot of things. I have not always received clearly worded answers
but he has a tremendous amount of experience. Are you feeling stressed when you know that
Prévot is home studying the Road book? Maybe a little. Sometimes it is good to let
go of everything and start from scratch. Stig is a special person. You sometimes think that he doesn´t say much but I
have noticed that we have come closer to each other – – in the team. When Stig opens up it´s fantastic
to listen to all his stories. He only talks about rally and it is
great fun to listen to all his stories. I have got some tips from him as well.
He is outstanding. Very skilled.
He drives incredibly fast. Christer is a guy who is lying in wait.
He is cool and takes this moderately seriously I think. With the little experience he has,
I think he is doing very well. I am surprised at how fast he drives despite
the fact that he hasn´t driven much. Incredibly warm and
friendly as a person! This is fantastic to watch. I haven´t experienced
something like this in my whole life. To watch a big crater in Tanzania
in a world known national park is cool. This is paradise!
Paradise in Tanzania. When you get down here, it feels like time has stood still.
No one has done anything. We have now spent half an hour down in the crater
and it is absolutely indescribable. We must have seen 20 different
species of animals. Well … there are no words to describe all this. We have seen all kinds of animals, headed by lions. What an experience! It´s fantastic to get so close to all the animals.
Indescribable! I am speechless.
I have never experienced a safari before. There is only one way of winning this rally and that is
following a motto that I don´t live by myself. Nor do Christer and Roger. Stop at every warning!
Triple warning that is. If you had listened to me, you would have stopped.
But listening is rather difficult. David is a very pleasant person but he is a prankster.
He is always on his way somewhere. All the time. He helps out, he is always busy assisting
people and arranging things. He is the anchor in our team and he wants to make
everyone feel good. He does that very well. David is a man full or energy and has helped to make
all of this happen, that we are here at all. And he works hard with
Race4Health which is terrific! On the roads, though, David is a little fiery.
He has driven off the road. In all the pictures taken two years ago, David is the one
who jumps the highest and skids the most. Roger is here, too,
but he has had bad luck. He is a competitor like everyone else. Undoubtedly,
Roger, Christer and I are competing against each other. If you make a mistake, Roger takes the
opportunity to squash you a little. He will have to live with the fact that he has driven
the shortest rally of all times. 18 kilometers! Roger is a fantastic person whom I have had the
privilege of getting to know since he was – – my team mate in the Swedish Touringcar
Championship (STCC) the last two years. We´ve had a lot of fun together. He gives me a lot of inspiration in life
and also much joy in the team. It has been marvellous to see the
animals in their right element. This day has been incredible.
We were allowed to drive ourselves. To go on safari with
Richard “Safari” Göransson. I´ve seen elephants, monkeys, above all lions, antelopes,
gnus, buffaloes, hyenas, prairie dogs. A great day!
Our day of rest is over so we are moving on. Fantastic. I can hardly believe it´s true.
It is fixed, welded and just recently painted. Now let´s race a little! It´s a short but tough stage that is ahead of us.
It will be exciting. – So, how are you doing? Very well. I never feel better than when
I´m sitting in a rally car. It´s fantastic that Roger is back! It was not exactly a minor crash and the car
was incredibly extensively damaged. The mechanics have been outstanding.
They have worked day and night and they went – – all the way to Mombasa and back with the car.
I am very grateful. This clearly shows that this is a team and that
everything works even when the going gets tough. Now when I see how well Roger drives
it´s not good to see him back. Only kidding!
What happened was awful! Robin and Roger do a marvellous job. If they had driven like this throughout the rally,
they would have reached a top five place. Now we are going to see whether
someone dares to start to sit in the car. I think that would
be exciting for them. A boy was sitting by himself reading a book and
studying and his friends had gathered around the car. We decided to give him
the chance to sit in the car. He was hesitant at first
but then he liked it. It would be great to go
all the way down here. I´ve been second,
third several times. We´ll see.
One day left. Demevio who is or was third had an
incident today so he lost a lot of time. Only Stig and I are at the top now.
It is all about taking the car “safe to home”. The probability of Stig winning is very high,
or, rather, this is Stig´s rally. To me, the competition is not the most important thing
but the adventure of driving on these roads – – getting the better of myself and
getting this experience of the natural scenery. Björn Waldegård is very famous here and many
had expected to see him driving the rally. He was a well-known Swede
here during many years. Not everyone knows that he
passed away a year ago (in 2014). Everything is a mess.
First, on our way here both trip meters were stone-dead. When we were about to start, I couldn´t close my door
so I had to drive the whole stage with the door open. Then his trip meter broke again and there was
a slow puncture in the left back tire. It was an eventful start. It shows that we are approaching the end.
It has been a long, tough rally. Many cars have problems. Things are breaking now and a lot
of things are happening. It would be sad if our team
didn´t make it now. With the position we have now, there is a high
probability that we will keep it. If the car keeps running… Where does your competition come from?
From Richard? It comes from Richard.
He is the closest to me. So far we have the best
pace on this stage… This stage was not so easy,
but now we are through. – The first Swede in a Swedish team
winning the East African Safari Classic! It´s a great feeling
for the team as well. This can´t be compared to anything. Unbelievable!
What a great feeling! It feels good. It does.
It will take a while before I have taken it all in. We are in a dramatic state.
The gear box broke on the last stage – – so we only have the fourth gear and we don´t
know if we can get to the service park. Second place is not certain until we roll off the finishing
ramp so we´ll see what happens. We got here! We had to stress through traffic, honk and blink with our
head lights so as not having to stop in the villages. But it feels really good now. And I am happy for
Stig who won. What happened on the
first stage is saddening. Otherwise, I think we would
have reached the top. I´m totally convinced we would have been top five.
It´s going really well now. – How does he drive? He has become darn good.
It´s such a blast! – And how does he read? He reads like we did in school you know.
He´ll get a gold star, too. Great! After all we´ve gone through. On three wheels and almost rolled over
forward and got stuck in a ditch. Without our dear team captain, we would not
be standing here. He pulled us out. It feels wonderful
to finish the rally. – To reach the finish line
is a victory in itself, isn´t it? Yes, I think we are top-30
despite all our problems. Things are not working smoothly after the last jump and
I thought the rally would never come to an end. I feel such a huge
relief right now. If we summarize Africa this year.
What would you say? We´ve gone through all kinds of dirt you
could possibly go through. But we have roughed it and reached the finish line
despite what happened and Mattias is a good partner. We have done it well together. It feels great!
You cannot take for granted that everything will end well. – Congratulations to the team leader
who is winning it all! I am so delighted!
Fantastic! It is the first Swedish team ever that wins
and in addition second place. If anyone deserves to win it is
Stig, Björn´s old friend!