Italian speedster Amos stretches lead in Classic Rally

Philippe Dubaere and Andre Leyh speed-off in the Safari Classic Rally along Kongoni-Maudabi Road, Nakuru County.[Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Eugenio Amos of Italy continued to cause ripples on the fourth day at the ongoing East African Safari Classic Rally that traversed 322.74km from Naivasha to Nairobi on Wednesday.

Amos clocked 7:41:39.3 to open an 18 minutes 44.4 seconds gap between him and second-placed and defending champion Kenya's Baldev Chager.

Belgium's Emile Breittmayor is third in 8:12:40.0 as 2019 champion Austrian Kris Rosenberger moved from eighth to fourth in 8:12:40.0.

Chager, navigated by compatriot Gareth Dawe, was caught between a storm in the 58km Stage 3 (Kongoni) in the first 30km of the battle.

"This section was absolutely narrow, rough, twisty, wet with unpredictable corners, it made the race very interesting," he told Standard Sports.

Chager also took massive challenge to navigate his Porsche 911 along shadows of hills and trees which made the contest worth watching.

The multiple Kenya National Rally Championships winner enjoyed a brilliant ride on first half of the 93km Kamukuro Stage 3 which was even more tricky with rocks and big blind ditches which hindered their vision 15 meters ahead.

"We had to be super careful, if you fall into the bottom of the canyon that's the end of the rally,"  he said.

When asked about moving from fifth on Monday to second yesterday, Chager said they were trailing Day 1 and 2 leader (Geoff Bell of South Africa) for signals, unfortunately Geoff's Datsun 240Z stuck with the same overheating problems in the engine.

Chager is not sure if he'll bridge the 18-minute gap to Amos at the top but is pledging to take things slowly now that he's second on the log.

"Now, we just got to be sensible at the same time manage our resources so as to maintain the car," Chager said.

Amos said he enjoyed Stage 1 that was teeming with beautiful scenery, animals and human beings who eased the tension in his Porsche 911 vehicle co-driven by Paolo Ceci.

"We pushed, stretched ourselves in Stage 3 after safety reasons in Stage 2," Amos said.

Rosenberger believes cancellation of Stage 2 was a bit of a shame, but he thinks it was also ok as it was difficult for the drivers and the service cars to pass through the section.

Day Five of the rally today will see the drivers and the service crew rest at the Tamarind Hotel in Nairobi before resuming the tough journey from Nairobi to Amboseli tomorrow.

The gruelling 4000km episode will end in Diani, Ukunda on December 18.

By AFP 1 hr ago
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