Events : London-Cape Town, day nine

Keith Adams

After a week, the teams now touch down into Africa. This is where things should start to get even more challenging

Day nine
Safaga, Egypt

A few set-backs, but the Maestro is still running in fifth place!
A few set-backs, but the Maestro is still running in fifth place!

It was no the rest for the wicked, and a tough day’s driving across Egypt towards the Red Sea was punctuated by a series of challenging rally stages. The area of desert south-east of Cairo is one of the least-known spots on earth. Facing the Red Sea on the east, and stretching into the vast Sahara on its Western flank, the Organisation spent several days here seeking out one of the hidden spots of Egypt for the World Cup Rally to explore.

The leaders would find it hard – those in four-wheel-drive would romp it. After days of the MG ZR of Owen Turner leading the event, we had a new first place car at the end of this amazing day – and it was the Belgian Porsche 911 of Joost Van Cauwenberge and Jacques Castelein who set fastest time. Andy Actman’s Toyota Truck was fifth enjoying an unfair advantage, lying just under four minutes adrift of the leaders, and he was behind the fourth-best Rene Declercq and Francis Tuthill, who stopped to pull out the Maestro girls at one point.

Actman had also stopped to pull out a stuck car – the MG ZR of Owen Turner. Owen and Matt lost their lead which they had held from the outset today. Defeated in Snake Valley, they took a tumble down the points league to fourth overall.  The Maestro Girls of Jane Edgington and Gill Cotton retain fifth spot, having got stuck several times. Their good ground clearance, and fairly smooth Falken van tyres, came in really useful in the soft conditions.

‘We’re now sitting safely in a hotel bar having had an exciting day in Egypt,’ Gill said. ‘Five hours waiting to get through customs followed by an extremely hair raising 360km drive through Alexandria and Cairo to sanctuary from the crazy Egyptian drivers at our hotel in Ain Sohkn on the Red Sea. Tomorrow will be our first test using GPS for navigation. Three sections in the desert as we head south along the Red Sea coast for the ferry port of Safarga. More new experiences!’

MG Maestro holds on to fifth after a challenging day
MG Maestro holds on to fifth after a challenging day

Top five overall

1 14 41m 48 1 E Andy Actman GB Andy Elcomb GB 2010 Toyota Hilux 3000
2 23 47m 10 2 E Steve Blunt GB Bob Duck GB 2006 Subaru Impreza 1994
3 17 1h 05m 33 1 D Renger Guliker NL Pim ‘t Hart NL 1985 BMW M535I 3406
4 33 1h 10m 06 1 B Owen Turner GB Matthew Fowle GB 2002 MG ZR 1589
5 15 1h 39m 04 2 B Jane Edgington GB Gillian Cotton GB 1986 MG Maestro 1598

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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