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SPORTS

Classic Rally: Only drivers who completes entire course to be classified

MOTORSPORT By Ochieng Oyugi | January 18th 2022 | 3 min read
Clerk of Course Raju Chaggar during the launch of Safari Rally classic at The Standard Media group centre on Monday Jan 17, 2022. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The tenth edition of the East African Safari Classic Rally ( EASCR) has attracted 50 drivers from 13 countries among them double champion Ian Duncan.

Defending champion Kris Rosenberger leads the top seeds in the line-up.

The Austrian is already pumped up for victory ahead of his title defence which he's optimistic to win.

Ahead of the race, the competitors have been warned to expect very tough terrains in their quest to conquer the 5000km journey that will traverse 11 Kenyan counties.

From Left to Right:EASCR Logistics Manager Pipi Renu, Manager Sinder Sudle, Event Director Tash Tundo, Clerk Of Course Raju Chaggar and RCC General Manager  Bhaskar Patil during the launch of the EASCR at the Standard Group Centre in Nairobi on Monday January 17,2022. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

"We have made several regulation changes to make the event more difficult but thrilling. This is meant to enable the competition lives upto its billing as an endurance race," Raju Chaggar, the Clerk of Course, told Standard Sports.

For the first time in history, the drivers will be required to complete the entire course in order to be classified.

Should they retire earlier in the contest, they will not be graded as overall finishers, however, they will be allowed to continue with the competition in the remaining routes till the finish line.

Chaggar, who is fresh from a nine-day recce on the tedious course, says the longest stage in the race that will start in Naivasha on February 10 with the finish line in Watamu on February 18 is a stretch of 120km while the shortest is 30km.

"Most stages have endurance track of about 8km to 9km. The crews are expected to cover about 4km to 600km per day," says Chaggar.

While warning the contestants of a tiresome course ahead, Chaggar said: "It will be a long challenging event, very difficult on human mind and their personal strength and will power.

"The competition will be energy sapping for all involved; from the service crew to the officials to the drivers and those following and watching."

Unlike its tradition of being run on wet Easter holidays, this year's contest will be held on dry February meaning the competitors should brace  for heat and dusty conditions in the battle.

" The temperatures will sore above 37 degrees, the 2WD cars will experience difficulties wading through the soft volcanic soil. The cars will overheat due to the high temperatures and long distances covered in the journey," says Chaggar.

Classic Rally cars belonging to Aslam Khan (left) & Azar Anwar had an overnight stay at the Standard Group Centre along Mombasa Road after the launch of a media partnership between the EASCR and the Standard Group PLC. [Stafford Ondego, Standard

Due to safety reasons, the event will mostly traverse private conservancies meaning the drivers will have a breath of fresh air and no traffic.

" The only traffic they should expect are wild animals including the giraffes, antelopes, elephants, buffalos among others grazing beside the roads," says Chaggar.

For safety reasons, the drivers have been warned not to get out of their cars should they experience a mechanical mishap.

"They should wait for the safety teams deployed and spread throughout the stages to help out," says Chaggar.

Chaggar reiterated that his road book is 100 per cent concise following the route inspection.

"I have just come from a nine-day inspection of the entire course, I hereby give the route a clean bill of health," Chaggar says.

The EASCR Group 5 seeding

1.Toby Wright

2.Lynda Hughes

3.Scott Armstrong

4.Geoffrey Page-Morris

5.Nish Lakhani

6.Pedro Matos Chaves

7.Antonio Pinto dos Santos

8.Asad Anwar

9.Onkar Kalsi

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