Inside Line: Rob Collinge

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Winning the East African Safari is the zenith of a 32-year career for the Kenyan

What did this Safari win mean to you?

It was everything I had ever hoped for. I first drove the Safari Rally in 1971 in a Sutton Escort. It was the first BDA on the Safari. I did it with my mother [Gerry Davies] and we were the first car to retire when it dropped a valve at Mitito Andei. I didn’t use it again, and drove a Colt Galant and then an Alfa Romeo to win the Kenyan Rally Championship three times in the Seventies. I did the Safari several times, but the thing everyone remembers is the Safari of 1982 when I finished sixth overall in a Range Rover. I also competed in a Fiat Abarth 131 and Toyota Land Cruisers, but there was no chance of winning.

Was this Datum 240Z something special?

Yes, but not in the way you mean! It was prepared by Stuart Wilkinson in Australia and when I bought it the car had done Panama-Alaska, London-Mexico and London-Sydney. In fact, the engine and gearbox hadn’t been touched since Sydney. All we did was open the gearbox and check it out before a shakedown on the ‘other Safari’ rally, the one that used to be the Equator, earlier in the year. But we did treat it to a new set of spark plugs!

What next?

I would simply love to do a rally-raid event. In fact, we ought to run one here in Kenya. I think I am of an age where I am the right candidate for long-distance events where success is not a matter of ‘balls to the wall’. And I want to do it while I still have this love of driving and passion for cars. Anton [Levitan] and I have so much experience with 4x4s that I am sure we would make a go of it.