Drivers battle for top honors as rally enters homestretch

By Ernest Ndunda: Thursday, November 30th 2017 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Sporting
Baldev Chager's Kabras Porsche 911 flies over a bump around the Gazi area, Mombasa County, on November 28, 2017. [Standard Sports]

The Kenya Airways East Africa Classic rally enters the homestretch today, with 25 drivers battling for the top finish.

The rally will be concentrated in three counties - Kwale, Kilifi, and Mombasa - today.

Due to the roughness of some roads, yesterday’s stage 17 was cancelled and competitors proceeded to CS 18 after the first stage. 

Kenya’s Baldev Chager was the fastest in the early morning at CS16 stage, beating defending champions Stig Blomqvist.

A total of 25 competitors started from Neptune Hotel yesterday, with Richard Jackson of Great Britain in the lead. A wrong slot by Chager in Tuesday’s last section cost him the lead.

Missing from the starting list yesterday was Onkar Rai, who retired with engine failure, as did Ian Duncan, who finally gave up for similar reasons.

Jackson was slow in the first stage and said: “It was a very rough run and we lost a bit of time. We are still in front with two days to go and anything can happen. Our main plan is to get to the end and it would obviously be nice to win. I think in the history of this event, Kenyans have been winning apart from the two year’s when we had the Swedes winning. So, if we are going to have a Briton, and in particular somebody from Yorkshire, we would be delighted.”

Carl Tundo did not have it rough on Day Six. “Not much of a tough rally today. Unfortunately, they cancelled the middle sections. Apart from that, I drove slowly and I can’t catch the guys in front because it’s rough so I am settling for third position.”

Chager said other drivers were doing well but they were capitalising on what might seem not to be working welll for them. “Richard and Ryan are doing exceptionally well. However, they had the disadvantage of being first on the road today. We picked a little time on them in the first stage, the second stage got cancelled, and third stage Ryan beat us by about 15 seconds, so, it’s a very tight race. Two days to go and we will keep the pace and keep up the pressure,” said Charger.