|Australasian Safari: Garland and Isuzu prepare for final battle in Australia.|
After four challenging days that have included multiple punctures and queries over a timing anomaly, five-time Australasian Safari winner Bruce Garland and his Isuzu D-Mas are running in Day Six of this year’s event in third position. V8 Supercar driver Craig Lowndes (V8 Holden Colorado) is currently in first place in the West Australian outback with Darren Green (Nissan Patrol) in second.
"I have to admit I am really tired" said Garland. "Harry (Suzuki, navigator) and I drove the last 20 km into camp in the dark. It was a long, hard day on top of two very long, hard days. The roads are among the worst I have ever driven on in terms of punctures. There are mulga stumps sticking out, with really sharp sticks that are just like nails and go straight into the tyre wall. I brought 28 tyres with me and I have six left - I had calculated on four tyres a day but we had five punctures just on Tuesday so I had to cop a penalty for buying a tyre, and we are getting some more tyres. Everyone is. It’s just been crazy."
Bruce says the issue with the timing stems from an incident on Tuesday when the communications helicopter had to do ‘medivac’ duty and airlift an injured motorbike competitor who is now recovering in hospital. A number of competitors - including the Isuzu Motorsports crew - were obliged to stop when the aircraft landed, and the restart of the event is now under investigation by officials.
Bruce is feeling more optimistic about the next few days which include many kilometres of sand dunes, a surface he and Harry feel very comfortable on.
He plans to push a lot harder than he has over the last few days. He was conserving the ute on days that were not only tough, but also complicated by limited servicing regulations. Only the driver and navigator were allowed to work on the cars and only with parts and tools they had ‘on board’, and all in a maximum of 30 minutes.
2010/09/23 | 15:05 CET | EDITOR: MR/HS/ISUZU