There is excitement among Kenyans as the tenth edition of the East African Safari Classic Rally (EASCR) approaches home stretch in Watamu, Kilifi County today.
Kenyans are already elated with the performance of local drivers in one of the toughest motorsport events.
Kabras Sugar Racing ace Bladev Chager has held on to the lead since taking charge of the standings last Friday.
The multiple Kenyan champion continued with his good show yesterday, stretching his dominance by 38 seconds after clocking 12:26:50.1 against compatriot Ian Duncan who is looking for a third gong.
Chager’s performance has also inspired other local drivers in Raaji Bharij, Piers Daykin and Lee Rose who held onto the top six places.
Charger said he was leaving nothing to chance as two days could have a great impact on his lead.
“I’m happy we are keeping a healthy distance at the front. I’m glad our strategy is working,” he told Standard Sports.
“But there’s nothing to be comfortable about, especially with Ian (Duncan) closing in. Tomorrow (Thursday) we go into the sisal plantations and this, I guess, will be much of a challenge,” he said.
The organisers were yesterday forced to cancel Stage 17 of the rally which passed through Tsavo Road to the Man Eaters, due to the ongoing road construction in the park.
“Today, Stage 16 was a bit of pieces we did repeatedly in the Amboseli leg the previous day. We counted so many animals there this morning. I think the Maasai community have a cattle dip there or something because there were herds of cattle on the way,” he said.
“You could dodge ten to 15 cows, go around them but 100 of them are still waiting.”
Chager felt the last Stage 18, that cruised between Ndi to Maktau, was good as it was a very fast straight lane.
“The last call was an early dip and an 8km finish. So what I did was set in the fifth gear and did the full throttle for the 8km. But it was not so much fun to be honest, because driving in a straight line is just not so much fun in a rally.
“You need corners, but I guess it’s the terrain on this side.”
On his part, Duncan was glad his vehicle survived Leg 7 onslaught despite the constant overheating on the last stage.
“We dropped a bit of time on the last section but it’s okay,” Duncan said.