Voice of Sport

‘Baldy’ holds off charging Tundo to clinch second straight Safari victory in exciting Laikipia

Many big guns retired in the treacherous Loldaiga stage on Saturday and on Sunday, the biggest casualty was African Rally Championship series’ leader Gary Chaynes of Cote d’Ivoire


BALDEV Chager nursed well his overnight two minutes lead to keep off a charging Carl Tundo on Sunday in Laikipia and win the KCB Safari Rally for the second year running.

The battle was concluded at the Batian View on the foot of the picturesque Mt Kenya, Africa’s highest after Kilimanjaro.

Chager in his Mitsubishi EVOX navigated by Ravi Soni, finished with a total three-day accumulated time of 02:47.13. The second-placed Tundo, with Tim Jessop, in their rare Proton S2000 clocked 2:48.24 while Manvir Baryan/Drew Sturrock (Subaru N16) 2:52.06 completed the podium.

Retirements

It was treacherous rally, the most punishing stage being the Loldaiga Hill climb. Many big guns — including Ian Duncan, Jaspreet Chatthe, Rajbir Rai, Jas Mangat (Uganda), Asad Anwar and Denis Mwenda — retired there on Saturday and on Sunday, the biggest casualty was African Rally Championship [ARC] series’ leader Gary Chaynes of Cote d’Ivoire who failed to seal the continental title at the penultimate stage after he retiring with mechanical trouble.

Therefore Baryan of Kenya was the winner of ARC category and also sole finisher in the continental series.

On Sunday, Chager fought a clever fight to keep away Tundo’s all-or-nothing from-behind- charge. Tundo managed to claw away some of Chager’s lead but could not eat away a whole 1.11 minutes margin.

Quickest

Tundo’s pace saw him set the quickest times on the repeat run of the tormenting long Loldaiga stage where he beat Chager by over a minute.

But Chager kept his nerve checking into the last service at Batian with his second Safari victory in hand.

“Today we knew Loldaiga was going to be a very technical stage. We had a two-minute cushion over Carl [Tundo] who was obviously was going for a make-or-break. He managed to pick over a minute on us. The wheat lands and Kisima sections were fine and we had no worries though he [Tundo] was still sniping at our heels.”

Fight back

Said Tundo: “The game plan was to take his [Chager] time as much as possible. I thought unless he had a problem we could take all of it. I am happy about the way we fought back.”

Fourth overall was Quentin Mitchell in another unfamiliar car, the Skoda Fabia S2000 which arrived in the country just hours before the flagging off of the event by President Uhuru Kenyatta at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi on Friday.

Wildlife

The 60-year-old veteran, Azar Anwar, came fifth and said:

“We were happy to race on stages where there was no oncoming traffic, people or anything on the road. A few times we came across animals, elephants and antelopes running across so it was a totally different experience.

“We were very much relaxed in the stages and just concentrated on driving. Unfortunately the car gave us a bit of trouble on the first and second day; inter-com issues but we managed to hang in there.”

Spectators

Thousands of spectators turned up at the Batian View on the final run to witness the end of the 62nd Safari Rally.

Youngster Karan Patel won the “S” Class after returning his ex-Chager Subaru GC8 to ninth overall. Jonathan Somen in a Ford Escort MK2 won the Classic Cup while Eric Bengi in a Toyota RunX won the 2WD class.

The event counted towards the sixth round of the Kenya National Rally Championship [KNRC]. Kisumu hosts the next round in mid October.

2014 KCB Safari Rally:

Full results:
1. Baldev Chager/Ravi Soni (Mitsubishi EVOX) 02:47.13
2. Carl Tundo/Tim Jessop (Proton) 2:48.24
3. Manvir Baryan/Drew Sturrock (Subaru N16) 2:52.06
4. Quentin Mitchell/Nicholas Camara (Skoda Fabia S2000) 2:52.23
5. Azar Anwar/Julius Ngigi (EVO8) 2:57.27
6. Tejvir Rai/Zahir Shah (EVOX) 3:01.59
7. Duncan Mubiru/Musa Nsubuga (Subaru) 3:02.10
8. Jasmeet Chana/Ravi Chana (EVO9) 3:02.50
9. Karan Patel/Tauseef Khan (Subaru GC8) 3:05.29
10. Ronak Shah/Riyaz Ismail (Subaru N12B) 3:05.49
11. Steven Mwangi/Steve Nyorri (Subaru N10) 3:07.47
12. Mahesh Halai/Ketan Halai (Subaru N12) 3:08.11
13. Imran Mogul/Adnan Din (Subaru N10) 3:09.07
14. Alasdair Keith/Tariq Maliq (Subaru GC8) 3:10.07
15. Amaanraj Rai/Imran Khan (Subaru) 3:10.17
16. Raaji Bharij/Jasneil Ghataure (EVO9) 3:11.23
17. Ghalib Hajee/Bharat Pattni (EVOX) 3:12.08
18. Steve Gacheru/Absalom Aswani (Subaru N10) 3:13.57
19. Hussein Malik/George Mwangi (EVO6) 3:18.14
20. Jonathan Somen/Richard Hechle (Ford Escort MK2) 3:18.31
21. David Kioni/Mwangi Waithaka (Subaru GC8) 3:20.07
22. Khalfan Athman/Abdulaziz Athman (EVO9) 3:23.26
23. Aslam Khan/Keith Henrie (Porsche 911) 3:23.33
24. Eric Bengi/Tony Gikuhi (Toyota RunX) 3:23.33
25. Rob Hellier/Mike Huth (Datsun 160J) 3:25.55
26. Hapz Sagoo/Gurveer Pandhal (Subaru EVOX) 3:26.34
27. Don Smith/Bob Kaugi (Subaru) 3:31.09
28. Ranjeet Sehmi/ Iain Freestone (Ford Escort MK1) 3:35.08
29. Nikhil Sachania/C. Singh (Mitsubishi Challenger) 3:37.51
30. Rashid Kabi/Allan Muhindi (Subaru) 3:37.59
31. Rupesh Chouhan/Dhanraj Matharu (Land Rover Tomcat) 3:38.39
32. Mohammed Noor/Hassan Saleh (Subaru) 3:38.46
33. Chandu Chandrakant/Jonathan Kosgey (Subaru GC8) 3:43.19
34. Ramesh Vishram/Rohit Budhia (Ford Escort) 4:07.30
35. Jonathan Jessel/Linet Ayuko (Land Rover) 4.21.38