Ferrari In The Classic Safari

I have been exchanging emails with David Wells, an automotive enthusiast who currently lives in Ontario, Canada.  We were discussing rallies and David mentioned that he grew up in Kenya and has a long history with the various rough road rallies that have been held in the Kenya area.  He worked on various control points and prepared his friend’s car on the original East African Safari Rally between 1966 and 1973. It was a day and night rally for four or five days making 4000 miles in those days of the original event, but the old event eventually lost its FIA WRC rating.

David is a professional mechanic and his background includes preparing old Volvo cars for the East African Safari and a Ferrari for more recent Classic Safari Rally in 2015.  The rally Ferrari caught my attention.  How many rally Ferrari cars are out there?  And especially on rough road events like an African rally!  That Ferrari is shown below.

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A 1975 Ferrari 308GT4 in the 2015 Classic Safari Rally

The recent Classic Safari Rally held last November in Kenya and Tanzania is a high-speed, highly competitive, rough road rally along cart tracks and open country roads in east Africa.

The team that he was crewing for, Marzio Kravos and Crispin Sassoon did not finish due to a $3 circlip slipping along a transmission drive shaft that allowed a bearing to move.  This resulted in no forward motion after just making the 12th fastest time on the last section that they completed.  However the team did rather well as they climbed positions four days out of nine, and actually maintained a final placing.  The car was otherwise undamaged and still spotless, not even any bends or dents.

David reported that it was difficult to keep ahead  of Marzio and Crispin along the fast open country route of the rally in a large Mercedes-Benz “bread van” with virtually a spare car in parts! Fortunately the competitive sections were often loops allowing the service crews to be in place at the end of most of the sections.

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The Ferrari Takes On A Ford!

The Safari Classic in 2015 was definitely a car breaker, plus driver and navigator breaker as well. Apparently one of the Porsches had such  a hard landing in one place that the navigator received internal injuries including broken ribs sticking out of his shirt, making him difficult (not to mention excruciatingly painful) to remove from the car without a shot of morphine to calm him. He was airlifted out of the section.

The drivers and navigators who run this rally are a super aggressive, hard-bitten, fearless lot of hardened rally drivers who are super determined to finish the event no matter what happens.

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David Wells Busy With The Ferrari’s Back Wheel During a 16 Minute Service

As the Ferrari’s owner, Marzio Kravos knows the 308GT4 is about the most unsuitable car to run in this event. But he is an Italian, from a racing family background.  He believes it is his duty as a loyal Italian to drive his “Ferrari in the Safari” and hopes to finish one day.  He is now into his sixth year of development of the much modified car so the car is only getting better.  The next Classic Safari Rally will be held in 2017.

David’s qualifications to work on this crew includes his background in African rallies, his professional mechanical experience, plus he has an identical year and model Ferrari 308GT4 that he rebuilt from basically a  scrap car a few years ago.  His “Yellow Fellow” is alive and well, running very sweetly and is a true treasure.   After a full refurbishment and preservation from inside to out the last thing that was done was a full paint job and interior refurbishment last year.   David says that the “Yellow Fellow”  is now looking for a new home. So if anyone would like a well found, well refurbished “ready to go” 1975 Dino 308 GT4 just let me know.

If you have any comments or questions on this post, then leave a comment below or send me a private email at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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One Response to Ferrari In The Classic Safari

  1. david wells says:

    A little clarification:
    Living in Canada far away from Kenya, I was not deeply involved in the development or preparation of Marzio’s car, we had communicated for several years sharing information on our similar cars. But in practical terms I was only helping with some logistics and component parts sourcing in North America, and arranging the manufacture of a few small parts for the car because such infrastructure is not readily available in Africa.
    I was not Marzios first choice as a rally service crew member. There were two of us in the service truck. Robert was the lead man. The original choice for the second service crew member, who had done the service crew job before, was not available at the last moment. So Marzio asked if I could fill in for him at short notice. As you can imagine there are MANY behind the scenes support people especially Marzios family and local friends involved in making such an entry possible, I was only one of the many, and not of much importance in the whole picture.
    The roadside service routines between competitive sections were usually not more than 15-20 minutes. During this time all wheels are removed all accessible components checked, repairs made, tires changed, fluids and fuel filled and everything reassembled.
    The pictured service point was at the end of one of the competitive days where two hours of service work is allowed.
    Apart from the driver, only two other designated people are allowed to work on the car at ay one time. These people are identified by the green tabards that must be worn.
    It was indeed a true privilege and honour to be asked to do this job among true friends on such a prestigious event.
    david wells
    18 July 2016

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