Voice of Sport

‘Boldy’ nails it in Kisumu after 18-year wait; Duncan off ill

Orgarnisers were forced to cancel the Nucleus stage due to rains and a previously done section had to be repeated


BALDEV Chager has won the Kenya National Rally Championship [KNRC] Kisumu Rally on Saturday edging out Rajbir Rai.

Chager navigated by Ravi Soin [Group ‘N’ Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution10] ended 18 years of waiting for only his second Kisumu Rally title under extremely wet and muddy terrain around Chemelil region.

End of dry spell … Baldev Chager (left) and Ravi Soin, first outright victory in the 2016 KNRC having gone winless since the 2014 Safari Rally

End of dry spell … Baldev Chager (left) and Ravi Soin, first outright victory in the 2016 KNRC having gone winless since the 2014 Safari Rally

End of dry spell … Baldev Chager (left) and Ravi Soin, first outright victory in the 2016 KNRC having gone winless since the 2014 Safari Rally

It was also Chager’s first outright victory in the 2016 KNRC having gone winless since the 2014 Safari Rally — a one year eight months dry spell.

The top two benefitted from a pull-out by Ian Duncan who abandoned the extremely wet event due to illness while leading at control stage [CS] 32. At retirement Duncan was 90 seconds ahead of Carl Tundo and it prompted a gilt-edge battle for outright victory among four cars.

Cancelled

Commenting on Duncan’s fortunes, co-driver Amar Slatch said: “Ian has not been feeling well for the past couple of days; with diarrhea and vomiting being the major problems. The medics checked him at the park and advised for good rest. His blood pressure is also not good. We didn’t want to risk it. Rallies come and go but our health remains paramount.”

Another disaster befell the Kisumu Rally as orgarnisers were forced to cancel the Nucleus stage which was to be tackled later due to rains. That left the Kobonyo stage to be tackled once more before the rally came to an abrupt end.

Dash

Rai in a Ford Fiesta R5 romped home just 14 seconds behind the winner. Manvir Baryan, also in a Ford Fiesta R5, completed the podium dash 32 seconds behind the winner.

Chager, who was the fastest through the repeat run of Kobonyo-Mberere stage, was all smiles after victory saying “This were perhaps the toughest conditions we have seen in a long time. Organizers had to cancel two stages because of adverse weather conditions and later compelled to reroute and rerun some stretches. It was very rough and the rocks in there proved quite unforgiving at some point.”

Finland

Ian Duncan’s navigator Amar Slatch said: “Ian has not been feeling for the past couple of days with diarrhea and vomiting being the major problems. The medic have checked him at the park and advised for good rest. His blood pressure is also not good. We didn’t want to risk it. Rallies come and go but our health remains paramount.”

The defending champion Tapio Laukkanen of Finland finished in an unfamiliar 14th place due to multiple punctures and engine problems. Defending KNRC champion Jaspreet Chatthe finished 22nd overall position after stopping in the first stage for more than 20 minutes and picking up a puncture on the repeat run.

Out of the 28 starters in this Equator Motor Club-organised round only four –Sammy Nyori, Duncan, Dinesh Sachania and Farhaaz Khan — failed to finish.

Top 10 (provisional results):

1. Baldev Chager (Mitsubishi EVO X) 1:01.00
2. Rajbir Rai (Ford Fiesta R5) 1:01.14
3. Manvir Baryan (Ford Fiesta R5) 1.01.32
4. Carl Tundo (Subaru GC8) 1:01.38
5. Karan Patel (Mitsubishi EVO X) 1:06.50
6. Frank Tundo (Mitsubishi EVO 9) 1:07.30
7. Onkar Rai (Mitsubishi EVO X) 1:07.35
8. Izhar Mirza (Mitsubishi EVO 9)1:07.45
9. Tejveer Rai (Mitsubishi EVO X) 1:08.14
10. Jansher Sanshu (Mitsubishi EVO 9)1:13.01