Rautenbach wins Safari Rally
- 13th March 2007, 8:32am
Driving their Jardine Lloyd Thompson Subaru Impreza on the second round of the FIA African Championship, Conrad took a well deserved win in Nairobi.
A strong start to Saturday’s 180 kilometre long leg was hampered when the pair hit a pothole near the start of the longest stage of the rally and damaged the lower control arm on their Impreza.
Showing remarkable restraint and mechanical sympathy Rautenbach nursed the car through the stage and the next two before reaching the first service with a 30 second lead. This was despite loosing their intercom as well!
A re-run of the morning stages meant that the conditions of the roads had deteriorated even more and with the high speed nature of some of the sections it was difficult to find the balance between cautiousness and outright speed.
Despite suffering with damper problems and punctures Rautenbach ended day one in second place, just six seconds behind the works Fiat Punto S2000.
On Sunday, with 120 kilometres still to go, Rautenbach hunted down his rivals, finishing in first place with over a two minute advantage on Carl Tundo, whilst the works Fiat Punto S2000 of Andrea Navarra completed the podium in third position.
“I don’t really know what to say. To win the Safari Rally is fantastic. It was a really rough rally and we had a few small problems, but I have to say a huge thank you to my service crew for making sure I had a great car!” Rautenbach said.
There is no rest for the young rally driver as he will now fly back to Europe to begin preparations for his 2007 Junior Rally Championship campaign, which begins in Portugal in two weeks time.
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