Classic Rally: Kabras Racing star Chager on the cusp of glory

 

Kenya's Baldev Chager in action at the East African Safari Classic Rally. [Ziyaan Sidi]

The curtains are set to fall on the tenth edition of the East African Safari Classic Rally (EASCR) in Watamu, Kilifi County today.

All the 48 drivers have been on the road for the last nine days, battling fiercely for the top gong that will be rewarded this afternoon at the pristine Ocean Sports Hotel in the coastal town.

Heading into the final stretch with great advantage is Kabras Sugar Racing ace Baldev Chager who has clinged on the lead for seven days running.

Chager is now on the verge of making history in the toughest motorsport showpiece in the globe with his remarkable consistency.

Yesterday, he widened his lead, from seven minutes to 12, between him and second-placed, compatriot, Ian Duncan after he clocked 15:11:44.9 in the last stage 21.

“I’m leaving nothing to chance, even one day has a big impact in the rally. We are holding on until the finish line,” said Chager whose best performance in the event was a third place finish in 2017.

Surprisingly, Chager heads to the final round (Day 9) without any single stage victory.

Duncan too has guarded his second place position for days as he keeps knocking on the front door to open.

Going by the way Chager’s team is motivated, the Hall of Fame legend might just wait for a while before bagging his third title in the biannual event.

Earlier in the event, Patrik Sandell was thought to be the dark horse in the competition, but this has since changed after his good run was brought down by mechanical gremlins.

The 39-year old Swede was eclipsed by Duncan in second place three days ago and the lineup remains that way to today’s final.

“We are glad today we have closed in on Duncan. If we go on this speed we will be able to catch him tomorrow,” said Sandell.

Sandell heaped praises on Chager saying this event is now his to lose.

However, he warned Chager to be cautious saying: “Still one more day to go, anything can happen.”

Drivers whose hopes have been smoked out are defending champion Kris Rosenberger of Austria and American YouTube sensation Ken Block.

Block ‘sprinted’ to first place on Day One of the competition but failed to maintain his lead which was grabbed by Chager to the final.

Rosenberger has already admitted defeat saying he’s just racing for fun.

By Reuters 3 days ago
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