Champ Chager ready for title defence as EA Classic starts

Kabras Sugar driver Baldev Chager in a past EASCR edition. [Courtesy]

Kenya’s Baldev Chager is determined to navigate through the wet and muddy weather conditions at the forthcoming East African Safari Classic Rally (EASCR).

The defending champion believes the ongoing rains will definitely make the event tougher as most drivers will be compelled to change tack.

But the Kabras Sugar Racing driver says he will have no choice but “to take the bull by the horns.”

“The Flying Singh” will team up with his long term partner Gareth Dawe in a Porsche 911.

He hopes to become the second ever driver after compatriot Rob Collinge ( 2003 and 2005 champion) to accomplish back-to-back wins as he gears up to defend the title in the 11th edition of the race that revs off at Vipingo Ridge in Kilifi on Saturday.

“I haven’t sat in the Porsche for a while now. We’ve not even managed a test yet as it’s been a little busy for me. But the Menengai boys in Nakuru have the car up and running and we should manage a shakedown anytime to get a feel of the car and a little seat time,” said Chager.

But the multiple Kenya National Rally champion is not sure what to expect at this event following heavy rains that have pounded the rally route.

Course clerk Renzo Bernardi has warned drivers to prepare for a challenging route that will have new sections, which will be subject to changes depending on the ongoing rains.

Bernardi said the organisers will carry on with the route recce throughout because there can be last-minute changes on the roads. “We really don’t know what awaits us as the route is always a secret,” Chager said.

“But it’s the same for everyone, so, we have to take it as it comes. As always, we have the Kabras brand backing our team and may have some co-sponsors but yet to be confirmed.”

“We just have a few days to carry out the final checks as well the service team, cars, members and last-minute items that need attention,” he added.

Chager emerged the winner of the 10th edition of the Safari Classic that ended in Watamu last year.  

He clocked 16:40:10.6 after the closing 24th stage to win the nine-day contest. He led the race for eight consecutive days.

Patrik Sandell of Sweden finished second.

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