Alan Mcnish Driver turned team boss on Formula E
RALLYING FANS ARE keenly looking forward to the Safari’s planned return to the World Rally Championship this June after a 19-year absence.
This spectacle in East Africa has been held every year since 1953, when a local duo won in a Volkswagen Beetle, but it didn’t gain international significance until 1972.
On Easter Monday in 1962, we reported from Nairobi as just 46 of the 104 entrants finished the 3000-mile, three-day trek.
The rally started on dry dirt roads, and here the 220SES led with ease; indeed, big Mercedesbenz saloons had won the past three editions.
However, one of the 220SES was soon forced to retire due to damage from the terrain, as were two other favourites: a Ford Zodiac and a Beetle.
Escaping being “stoned by hostile natives” on the Mount Kenya section, the Safari reached Kampala in Uganda with a 220SE leading two Fiat 2300s.
Next, they travelled south to Nairobi, during which time the challenge from the Fiats weakened, for a 10-hour rest halt.
Then, on the Southern Loop, it rained heavily at the Mbulu escarpment; by the time the drivers had reached Bonga, “on the far side of this difficult road,” the running order had changed completely.
It was Tommy Fjastad’s Beetle leading at Dar es Salaam, narrowly in front of Pat Moss’s Saab 96.
She was held up after hitting an antelope; fellow Saab driver Eric Carlsson took over the attack only for his suspension to fail.
Volkswagen thus won its fourth Safari to “avenge last year’s disgrace”.