Sa­fari suc­cess se­crets

A ri­val has some ad­vice for Craig Lown­des, writes Mark Hinch­liffe

Herald Sun - Motoring - - What’s On -

FIVE-TIME Aus­tralasian Sa­fari win­ner Bruce Gar­land has ad­vised new­comer Craig Lown­des to slow down.

‘‘The se­cret is know­ing when to go slow,’’ Gar­land said be­fore the 25th an­nual eight-day sa­fari start­ing in Western Aus­tralia to­day.

‘‘My biggest com­pe­ti­tion will be Craig. He’s a bit of a force, but his only is­sue is he’s not used to hav­ing some­one in the car with him telling him how to drive ex­cept for when he’s driv­ing his wife around.’’

The Aus­tralasian Sa­fari has at­tracted more than 100 mo­tor­cy­cle, au­to­mo­bile and quad-bike com­peti­tors and will be the first off-road race for V8 Su­per­cars driver Lown­des.

Lown­des, a four-time Bathurst win­ner, has been in­spired to en­ter and fol­low in the tyre tracks of his men­tor Peter Brock, who fin­ished sec­ond in 2001.

‘‘The prob­lem Peter had was know­ing when to go slow,’’ Gar­land says.

‘‘Race-car driv­ers like Peter and Craig have the speed, but you can’t drive flat out all the time or you’ll crash. You are right on the edge the whole time with no mar­gin for er­ror.

‘‘It took Peter a while to learn when to go slow.’’

Gar­land, who fin­ished 11th in last year’s Dakar rally, says the sa­fari will be an emo­tional roller-coaster for Lown­des.

‘‘Craig will have a re­ally good time. He’ll be sur­prised. Peter got hooked on it.

‘‘It’s also one of the purest forms of motorsport. Ev­ery corner is a mys­tery. You can’t go back and do it again.’’

Lown­des yes­ter­day played down his prospects.

‘‘I’m not re­ally look­ing for a vic­tory or any­thing, but just to com- plete it and if you do that you will be right up there any­way,’’ he says.

Lown­des has had only two days of test­ing the Holden Colorado he will pi­lot with co-driver Kees Weel, a pre­vi­ous sa­fari win­ner and 13-year event vet­eran.

The 2010 Sa­fari starts in Perth and cov­ers 3600km over seven days, fin­ish­ing in Esper­ance on Septem­ber 25.

Vet­eran: Bruce Gar­land, with co-driver Harry Suzuki (right), says sa­fari driv­ing can be ad­dic­tive.

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