Last updated 9 months ago | By Ernest Ndunda
Austria’s Kris Rosenberger and his navigator, Nicola Bleicher are the winners of this year’s Safaricom East Africa Safari Classic Rally.
The crew claimed the deserved victory in a Porsche 911 and it was all smiles as they comfortably drove their car to the podium at Whitesands Beach Hotel in Mombasa yesterday.
The duo showed signs of victory on the first day after they set the fastest pace as the cars embarked on the 10-day journey.
They beat Stig Blomqvist and Jorgen Fornander of Sweden by just over a minute at the end of the 10-day action which covered over 3,500kms covering 24 stages in Kenya and Tanzania.
Blomqvist who won the 2017 rally was also driving a Porsche 911.
Bleicher said she was excited to have accomplished one of the biggest motorsports events in the world.
"I never thought I could sit in a rally car and perform at this level. I am very happy to be the first-ever female winner of this great rally. I will definitely come back again,’’ she said.
Though local competitors made a big impact at the start of the marathon rally, both Baldev Chager and Onkar Rai later lost their leads due separate mechanical issues with their respective Porsches.
Rai ended up as the best local driver in third place while Chager finished outside the top 10 among the 16 survivors of the rally.
Another Kenyan Tejveer Rai finished in the eighth spot while Aslam Khan (11th), Chager (14th) and Ian Duncan (15th) finished in that order outside the top-10.
Only 16 of the original 20 starters finished the grueling rally. It was tough going when the cars drove to Tanzania as one full day was cancelled due to rains.
Meanwhile, Formula 1 has relaxed restrictions on engine usage for 2020 meaning drivers could suffer fewer grid penalties, adds BBC reports.
Drivers will next year be able to use three MGU-Ks — a part of the hybrid system — one more than in 2019.
The move brings the MGU-K into line with the other parts of the power-unit in terms of permitted usage.
F1’s complex, high-tech turbo-hybrid power-units are officially split into four parts for the purposes of the rules.
In addition to the MGU-K, which recovers energy from the rear axle and redeploys all hybrid-generated electrical energy to the rear wheels, the other three are the internal combustion engine, the turbo and the MGU-H, the part of the hybrid system that recovers energy from the turbo.
In 2020, drivers will be permitted to use three of each part during the season before becoming subject to grid penalties.
In addition, the engines require an electronics control box and a battery, with two of each being permitted for a season.
The change was confirmed in the 2020 rules, which were officially published on 4 December, after a meeting of the FIA World Council, motorsport’s legislative body.
Although the drivers kept racing to the designated grand prix distance, the race result was declared one lap earlier as a consequence of the error.