By FEVERPITCH REPORTER

Baldev Singh Chager has managed to break the tight grip of Mitsubishi Evolutions after powering his Subaru Impreza N16 to victory in the first round of the 2013 KCB Kenya National Rally Championship in Kajiado.

Chager clocked 1:08.24s in soaring temperatures, but admitted  that he felt somewhat hassle-free when he saw Peter Horsey’s EVOX by the roadside and Ian Duncan’s EVO9 on a flat.

Duncan finished second In 1:08.24s, while Azar Anwar sealed the podium dash in 1:13.14s.

 Partnering up with a new navigator, Ravi Soni, Kabras Sugar Racing’s Chager had his campaign effectively sewn up when Duncan’s run was affected by a puncture prior to second service.

“The feeling is amazing. We were fast and consistent all though and didn’t damage the car at any point. The only problem we encountered was overheating and I’m glad my new co-driver settled in quick,” said Chager.

This is indeed the first win for the Subaru make in four years since 2008 when Chager last won the KNRC in 2008 in his old N12 model.

For Soni, this was his first career win and his first outing with Chager.

The demanding Kajiado terrain showed no mercy to some of the frontrunners including defending champion Carl Tundo who bowed out with turbo problems on the 44km Corner Baridi stage.

First retirement

Youngster Quentin Mitchell suffered his first retirement in three years after clipping a rock and ripping off the wheel of his state-of-the-art Subaru N16 at the end of the 12Km Olepolos stage.

Chager’s match to last service in Kajiado belied the excitement that was bubbling underneath and this exploded in a solid stream of joy during prize giving ceremony.

His victory in Kajiado was a consolation for his Kabras Sugar Racing team after his teammate Onkar Rai’s N16 Subaru caught fire on the CS5 Olekajiado section.

A total of seven cars had gone through this stage by the time Rai cheated death and the rest of the cars were handed a bogey time prior to the last stage which started in Konza and ended in Isinya.

Rai’s car was reduced to a shell following a heavy impact with a bump.

Up next for the drivers is the Voi Rally which is scheduled for February 23 and 24 to be organised by the East Africa Safari Rally Limited.

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