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Rain threatens safari

SPORTS By - | June 10th 2012 | 3 min read

By Rebecca gichana

Flash floods made the KCB Safari Rally trickier for drivers and navigators with only 16 of 77 cars that started day two action making it through competitive stage four – Parane-Il-Bissel.

Dali Kalsi, the clerk of the course, said they were compelled to cancel the Parane-Il-Bissel stage after a few cars pass through a flooding river for safety purposes.

“The rally proceedings will nevertheless resume this morning. I’m certain today’s itinerary would go on as planned,” said Kalsi.

No Two-Wheel-Driver or Supplementary class cars had gone through the long and energy sapping 87km section, which culminated at Il-Bissel.

However, the main class cars, which had not done the stage before it was cancelled, were given a bogey time. All cars were then directed to the Il-Bissel parc ferme in readiness for today’s action.

“We had to cancel the stage because there were about 22 cars, which went through and the river was swollen. We had to take precautions. We decided to give main class competitors, who hadn’t gone through, a bogey time. Tomorrow programme should be okay,” he said.

Already defending champion Carl Tundo had flashed through the stage and will be satisfied with the overnight lead as a consolation for the early retirement of Dalbit Petroleum teammate Alastair Cavenagh, who exited the event due to mechanical gremlins.

“It was really tough. It was quite a rough 90 kilometres and several other things can catch you out there, so we’ll see tomorrow (today). So the rally gods need to be with us again,” said Tundo.

When the 45.57km Kipeto (CS2) and 51.3km Ndialangoi (CS3) stages were run in the morning, all was well for most of the crews. But going into the 87km stage, heavy rains caught many unawares.

Division Two driver Charles Hinga was among the hardest hit by the flash floods. His Mitsubishi Evo7 car was stuck in overflowing river at a luger crossing of CS4. No cars could go through at that particular moment. Other drivers Ghalib Hajee and Farhaz Khan were also obstructed behind Hinga.

“The terrain was really tough. It started raining, and things got cocked up.  We couldn’t see anything. Tomorrow we have to try, but it all depends on the weather as well,” said Onkar Rai driving a Subaru N16 car.

The challenging terrain claimed quite a number of cars. Stella Macharia and Helen Shiri were out after damaging the sump-guard of their Subaru Impreza. They become the first lady crews to bow out of the rally.

Friday’s leader Cavenagh was also out with radiator problems. The Team Kibos crew of Raaji Bharij and Geoff Mayes also kissed the Safari goodbye.

Joe Muchiri’s navigator Riyaz Ismail recounted their Day Two woes. “It was day full of drama for us. But we finished 12 out of 19 in supplementary class. On competitive stage two, we lost power and coming through stage three, we hit a donkey damaging the front of the car,” he said.

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