Baldev Chager now aims for a hat-trick in Mini Classic Rally

Kenya's Baldev Chager and his navigator Drew Sturrock in action in the 10th edition of the East African Safari Classic Rally. [East African Safari Classic ]

Multiple Kenya National Rally Championship star Baldev Chager will be out for a hattrick in this year's East African Safari Mini Classic Rally set for December.

The third edition of the gruelling race will traverse a 1000km route snaking across four Kenyan counties namely Nakuru, Trans-Nzoia, Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo Marakwet on December 8-11.

The Kabras Sugar Racing ace is already testing his Porsche for the tedious battle he is hopeful to successfully defend for the third time in a row.

When asked what are his chances of winning this year's race, Chager said: "Every rally is different, it's a gamble. If you win you win, if you don't you don't.

"Victory boils down to a number of things; the preparation, the mindset and the team work.

"I can say we are pretty well prepared, as long as everything goes well we should be on top of the podium."

Since 2018, 'Boldy' has been undefeated in the mini competition whose aim is to pave the way for the main East African Safari Classic Rally (EASCR) which is one of the toughest motorsport races in the world.

Despite being optimistic, the two time Top Fry Classic Rally winner should be wary of former Africa Rally Champion Carl 'Flash' Tundo who has entered the race.

Tundo, who will be making his debut in the Mini Classic, is among the dark horses together with the Minti Motorsport trio of Ian Duncan, Raaji Bharij and Geoff Bell.

In the last Mini Classic Rally held in November 2021, Chager bagged seven of the nine stages, to beat Hall of Fame legend Duncan by a whooping 7 minutes.

Duncan who came second in his Rover V8 will be making his attempt in a Datsun 280Z this season.

Bell and Bharij will be looking forward to stopping Chager's winning streak, having all attained podium spots in the previous Mini Classics.

The EASCR Board chairman Joey Ghose has promised the drivers a tough rally that only the experienced and the strong will survive.  

"We have done five recce so far on the roads, the route is ready, the rally is waiting," Ghose said.

Ghose stated safety measures have been put in place to ensure the event runs smoothly and these include helicopters and low flying aeroplanes which will monitor the route and the drivers.

He said the last day of the rally, that is December 11, will be shorter and will be mostly held in the conservancies to avert any crisis with church goers that Sunday.

This follows an incident in February this year during the tenth edition of the EASCR where the organisers were forced to cancel Stage 11 and 12 in Amboseli, Kajiado County after the roads were flooded by the congregations, interfering with the race schedule.

Ghose said this year's  Mini Classic Rally has already attracted over 30 local and international drivers who are ready to battle it out for glory.

“During the previous event we had some issues with the route opening car so, we’ve gone out and bought a full Raid prepared car which will open the route driven by none other than seasoned rally driver Steve Anthony," he explained.

At the same time, Ghose has dismissed claims that this year's classic rally has been discontinued stating that the already plans are at an advanced stage and that the route is ready. 

He also confirmed that over 40 foreign entries have been received for the main classic rally which is set for December next year.

By Standard Sports Jan. 13, 2023
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