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Perez endures toughest day so far in Africa

Steve Perez still third in Kenya after the fifth day of the East African Safari Classic Rally.
Steve Perez continues to hold third position in the 2009 Kenya Airways East African Safari Rally despite a number of problems on day five of his African adventure.

Along with Swedish co driver Staffan Parmander, the Chesterfield driver endured a number of time-consuming problems as the event headed back into Kenya. On the most physical of days so far, Perez had to stop a number of times on the opening stage due to suffering from an African version of 'Delhi belly' with constant visits to the African bush.

On the second stage worse was to follow when after hitting an unmarked jump at 80mph, the historic-specification Datsun 260Z subsequently got stuck in the mud. With Parmander despatched to push the car out, his attempts were proving unsuccessful until from nowhere six Masai warriors appeared and between them carried the car to safety. Despite losing three minutes Perez was still fourth fastest on the stage and although he damaged the front suspension he managed to reach service.

On the day's final stage he set third fastest time despite misinterpreting an instruction from his co-driver to hold third position at tonight's overnight halt at Ol Tukai Lodge, Amboseli, Kenya.

"It's been a very hard day, the toughest so far and I'm glad to reach tonight's rest halt," said Perez. "When Staffan called 'Humps for next mile' I thought he meant there would be humps in the road but it turned out we had to look out for camels. In fact we actually had to stop for two!

"But that's not all, other things we've had today included 'Caution - elephants for next 35km', as well as 'Turn left at dead zebra', and also 'Do not leave car on this stage - lions and rhinos are present'.

"As tomorrow is a rest day, for the first time in my life I think I'm actually looking forward to not rallying although Angie has told me I may have to drive her around in her wheelchair!"

Friday is a rest day and the rally resumes on Saturday with the crew leaving the Ol Tukai Lodge, Amboseli at 06.00 hours and arriving at Naivasha Sopa Lodge, Naivasha, Kenya at around 16.00 hours [all times local].



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Steve Perez

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