911 Safari, coming soon

Last updated 18:30 GMT.


CHANNEL DELAYS: Brittany Ferries Bilbao-Portsmouth delayed 60mins, return also.

WEATHER ALERT: Amber alerts: flooding/heavy rain France, heavy rain/storms Italy, high winds southern Spain. Snow Switzerland. High winds/snow Poland. Heavy rain/storms Western Balkans.

WEATHER: Unsettled across South, heavy rain Spain and Italy. Scandinavia cold. Snow Alps.

TRAFFIC: north west Italy: flash flood A12 Genoa, see below, and strong winds A6 Savona. On/off slow A76 Millau-Clermont Ferrand, snow, earlier accident currently no delays. Leverkusen (Cologne) A1 Rhine bridge weekend road works. Queues now gone.

ROADS: Snow high ground SwitzerlandAustria and FranceMajor routes are open though A2/A13 Switzerland has snow in places and some local roads are closed.

Heavy rain/snow/landslide road closures French Riviera/north west Italy. Article in French with details.

Snow south Pyrenees affecting roads yesterday central and east, C-14, A136, A138 and N230. Snow chains needed.

See Travel/Traffic/Weather for more.


The Porsche 911 Safari – coming soon.

b revue

Have you heard about the new 911 Safari?

Just before Christmas, Auto Bild’s Motor Revue magazine majored on a new 911 concept expected to appear at April’s Beijing Motor Show. We’ve finally got our hands on a copy.

Based on a turbo-style body – though powered by a high torque, 370bhp engine – the Safari apparently features some serious off-road kit, including a low range gearbox and active, long travel suspension.

Other features include taller but narrower tyres, high ground clearance, beefed up underbody protection, dust proof air intakes and – not least – two cute spotlights on the GT3-style bonnet.

Bild says it isn’t a study for a future World Rally Championship car. Instead it’s intended for regular drivers in markets where the roads aren’t so good, like China, Russia and the Middle East. The engine even auto adjusts for poor fuel quality.

The 1984 Paris-Dakar winning Type 953 Porsche 911 driven by Rene Metge and Dominique Lemoyne.

The 1984 Paris-Dakar winning Type 953 Porsche 911 driven by Rene Metge and Dominique Lemoyne.

The Safari might not be intended for the WRC but nobody mentioned endurance rallying.

This is well trod ground for Porsche which won Paris-Dakar in 1983 with the 953 – a one-off 911 4×4 variant – and in 1985 with the exotic 911-based 959.

With F1 racer Mark Webber heading up its 2014 Le Mans effort, is it beyond the realms of sensible speculation to imagine Robert Kubica, former F1 star now up-and-coming rally driver, leading a new assault on Dakar?

We suspect that all-round motor racing fan @156Sharknose speaks for many people when he says, ‘A Martini Porsche 911 in rallying with Kubica at the wheel would be mega… I might explode with excitement!’

Whatever Porsche’s motorsport intentions, it’s clear the Safari is on its way. Compact, 4×4 911s already make a good case for themselves as go-anywhere, all-weather motors. Adding real off-road ability would make them completely unstoppable.

Just don’t say, ‘not available in right hand drive’.


Monte Carlo Rally:

Monte Carlo Rally: VW driver Sebastien Ogier won in commanding style but the star of this year’s event was undoubtedly the weather. For the past few days the region has been battered by heavy rain with landslides closing many roads (see above). The rally drivers avoided most of that but on the last day, yesterday, competitors faced deep snow on the Col de Turini then fog and torrential rain on the final Sospel stage. The latter made for difficult viewing all round as, in the pitch black, some drivers turned off their headlights to pick up the verges with sidelights only. Third placed Kris Meeke (Citroen) claimed the first podium for a British driver in more than a decade. The Word Rally Championship returns with the Rally of Sweden, 5-8 February.


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