A Mid Wales motorsport business will have three cars competing in the toughest long distance rally in the world in Africa in November.
It will be the third time Viking Motorsport, based in Newtown, has supplied cars for the gruelling nine-day East African Classic Safari Rally from November 19-27, which is held every two years and covers 4,000 stage miles between Kenya and Tanzania.
Supporting the venture is one of Britain’s top independent oil blenders, Shrewsbury-based Morris Lubricants, who will be providing specially formulated lubricants to help the three Group 4 RS 1800 Mark 2 Ford Escorts withstand the extreme stages and searing heat.
The cars will be driven by Jorge Perez-Companc and co-driver José Volta from Argentina, Jan Hagman from Sweden and English co-driver Philip Clarke and John Lloyd and Adrian Cavenagh, an English/Kenyan pairing.
The man masterminding Viking Motorsport’s’ African adventure is managing director Phil Mills, who won the 2003 World Rally Championship and has more than 30 years’ experience of motorsport, including 12 years competing at the highest level. During his career he also won both the British and Welsh rally championships.
“It’s the roughest, toughest rally in the world and we are rallying in extreme conditions with 45 year old cars, which are specially prepared for the punishing surfaces,” explained Phil.
His Escorts will be competing against 52 cars dating up to 1981 from around the world and he has set a target of the trio all finishing in the top 10, with at least one driver on the podium. Two years ago, his cars finished third and fifth.
Established in 2008, Viking Motorsports specialises in historical motorsport and long distance rallies and Phil insists on using Morris Lubricants’ top quality products in all his cars.
“Because we need specialised lubricants in extreme motorsport, we have developed a good working relationship with the technical team at Morris Lubricants over a long time,” he said. “We need a slightly heavier engine oil and slightly better gear and differential oils for this long distance rally, where cars compete in temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius over long distances. Morris Lubricants have come up with everything we needed and they have been faultless.
“The whole car, from the engine to the transmission and wheel bearings, is lubricated by Morris Lubricants. When we strip the engines, gearboxes and transmissions, they are like brand new, which shows how good the oils are. It’s the best oil out there.
“The company provides a high quality, dedicated service that you don’t get from larger oil companies. We have never used anything other than Morris Lubricants products and never would use anything else!”
Phil will be taking a team of 20 staff, together with eight trucks and a helicopter, to support the three cars in Africa.
Craig Bastable, Morris Lubricants’ marketing manager, said: “We are delighted to continue our relationship with Phil Mills and his team at Viking Motorsport and wish his success in the East African Classic Safari Rally.
“It’s a real testament to the quality and performance of our products that they are chosen by motorsport professionals to keep these classic cars running smoothly in such extreme conditions.”