Safari success secrets
A rival has some advice for Craig Lowndes, writes Mark Hinchliffe
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.