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London to Cape Town: Day 16 Catch-Up

By John Glynn

More news in from Kenya. It’s been a tough day: many are arriving back to base well late and five cars are still stuck in the desert – but the two top ten Porsches are making more ground on the leaderboard.

Hayden is clearly keeping busy, hence the lack of texts. The organisers say that, despite changing a puncture and a shock absorber on the stage, he and Alastair Caldwell in the Porsche 912 cleaned the timed section: stunning work that brought them back up to P6 overall.

However, the organisers also report a damaged top mount on the 35 car: hopefully the 911 might have a spare one if this is beyond repair. We also have some friends in Kenya thanks to Safari, so I am not too worried for them: there will be spares somewhere close by. Interchangeability between 911 and 912 is one reason Hayden picked a ’68 912.

Joost and Jacques in the Tuthill 911 are third overall at the end of Day 16, with the MG ZR that had been quick in Europe now dropping down the order thanks to blowing all of its shock absorbers on this crazy stage to Mars (Marsabit). No reported problems for Joost and Jacques today.

All that lies between Joost and the lead is a 2006 Subaru Impreza and a 2010 Toyota HiLux. A 1973 Porsche 911 beaten through the desert by a pair of modern 4x4s with air conditioning all all the toys seems fair enough, but the Porsche is not being beaten. It is catching them up.

The 2002 MG ZR is fourth, followed by a 2005 Land Rover Defender TD5. Behind that is a 1968 four-cylinder Porsche 912, built in a garage in San Francisco – not at the home of the Safari Rally winners. Awesome work by the Caldwell/Burvill team, but there’s a way to go yet. Fingers crossed!

Anyone still hammering pre-’73 912s as a poor man’s 911 or the rich man’s Beetle had better think again: these are seriously competitive rally cars when prepared by the right workshop. Hayden and I were discussing the possibility of some more high end WEVO rally-spec 912 builds should this car do well in Africa, and it is beginning to feel like that might come to pass if things keep rolling our way.

Classic Porsches and Classic Porsche people are the greatest things on four wheels. No question!

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