Baldev Chager on his way to victory in his Porsche 911 on February 18, 2022. [Ziyaan Sidi, Standard]

After nine days of fierce battle in the wilderness, the tenth edition of the East African Safari Classic Rally now has a champion.

The star is none other than Kabras Sugar Racing ace Baldev ‘Boldy’ Chager.

The multiple Kenya National Rally Championships winner clocked 16:40:10.6 for victory after a 5000km endurance battle that was flagged off by Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed on February 10.

The race started off in Naivasha and snaked its way through 11 Kenyan counties before reaching the finish line at Ocean Sports Resort in Watamu, Kilifi County yesterday.

Chager took control of the battle on the second day from American social media rally guru Ken Block.

He led the pack for eight consecutive days, before lifting the gong after so many years of trials.

He was over the moon with the victory, saying it was a great compensation after his third place finish in 2017.

“I’m happy to have won the rally. It has been an amazing experience,” Chager said as he uncorked his champagne.

“I want to thank my crew and the sponsors for contributing to this victory. This is a big boost to my career as I prepare for the WRC Safari Rally Championships in June,” he added.

Patrik Sandell of Sweden was second in 16:47:54.5.

The former World Youth Rally Champion eclipsed Hall of Famer Ian Duncan from second position on the final day.

“It was amazing driving all the way from Naivasha to Watamu. I encountered lovely people in the gruelling journey,” said Sandell who was making his debut in the event.

“I will go home with a lot of memories about Kenya and Africa,” he said .

Duncan was placed third in 17:12:12.4 as Lee Rose settled for fourth place in 17:12:12.4.

“I want to thank all the sponsors for making the rally to happen. Asanteni sana (Thank you,” said Duncan who has won the event twice.

Defending champion Kris Rosenberger finished seventh while Block was placed a distant 19th.

Belgium driver Remon Vos and his co driver Stephane Prevot, who battled in a Porsche 911, sent the crowd into prolonged laughter after he said he was taking home unique memories from the rally.

“I will always remember the dust, friendly people and the cold beer,” he said with a chuckle.

Other drivers narrated to the capacity crowd at the resort how they encountered twisty tracks, big brows and cambered corners during the gruelling journey.

Standard Group PLC Chief Executive Officer Orlando Lyomu said his organization will continue to partner with the EASCR fraternity in forthcoming events.

“We are proud with the  partnership, it has cemented our position as a true home of sports,” said Lyomu.

 

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