NAIROBI, Kenya November 21 -The Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally entered day two Monday after veteran driver Bjorn Waldegard took the overnight lead in a long and exhilarating Day 1 Sunday.
Navigated by his son Mathias, Waldegard, 68, opened a 1.50minutes lead from Belgian Gregoire De Mevius who settled for second spot as rally cars pulled in to the Kilma Lodge in Amboseli.
Earleir, defending champion Ian Duncan set two fastest stage times in the first and third competitive sections to settle for third place.
With three second fastest stage times; all the way from the North Coast, Waldegard went to bed ecstatic of a true taste the old Safari type witnessed in the first three sections yesterday.
“It was like a full Safari in one day. We had the first stage which was very fast. The second stage in Taita Hills was very twisty and rocky and with all the wash-aways in the third stage the going was really good for us,” said Waldegard senior. The Waldegards have won the third edition of the Safari Classic together in 2007 in a Ford Escort.
Gregoire sounded quite enthusiastic of the Day’s run. “It was a good race-day today with 642 kilometers and over 200kilometers of competitive mileage. We went to Taita Hills and it was very tricky and difficult. Then the rains pounded the last stage just a few kilometers to the end and it turned out to be quite slippery. We went off at some point and we’re back on the road again,” said Gregoire.
Gregoire first raced in Kenya during the 1989 edition of the WRC Safari then navigated by Kenyan Abdul Sidi.
Duncan’s navigator Amaar Slatch came back to the Kilma night-stop in Amboseli enthusiastic that Day Two action would get better for them.
“Today has been a very long day. We got rain in the last stage and it was very slippery. We also got lost in the second stage, so generally it was a very hard day for us,” said Slatch.
Duncan started off his campaign robustly with the fastest time of 38.14 minutes at the CS1 Mackinnon Road stage.
But his lead was short-lived when American motorsports competitor and stunt performer Travis Pastrana claimed CS2 Shelembwa stage in 1.05hours.
In winning the second section, Pastrana moved three places up to second but legendary Swedish driver Bjorn Waldegard’s second fastest on CS2 saw the four times Safari Rally winner snatch the lead from Duncan.
As at CS2 End, Pastrana trailed Waldegard by a mere 34 seconds while Duncan dipped to fifth; some 3.44minutes behind Waldegard.
The rally continues today as the teams teams crossover into Tanzania through Oloitoktok border and onward to Mount Meru Hotel for the overnight halt.
The Zero Car driven by
DAY ONE LEADERBOARD (TOP 10)
1. Bjorn Waldegard/Mathias Waldegard (Porsche 911/SWE) 2.52.07hrs
2. Gregoire De Mevius/Alain Guehnnec (Porsche 911/BEL) 2.53.57
3. Ian Duncan/Amaar Slatch (Ford Capri/KEN) 2.55.32
4. Gerald Marcy/S. Prevot (Porsche 911/BEL) 3.02.02
5. Geoff Bell/Tim Challen (Datsun 240Z, RSA) 3.05.37
6. Thomas Flohr/Dider Breton (Porsche 911/CH) 3.07.43
7. Travis Pastrana/Fabrizia Pons (Porsche 911) 3.10.15
9. Steve Funk/ Andy Doig (Porsche 911/CAN) 3.14.13
10. John Lloyd/A. Cavenagh (Ford Escort RS1800/GB) 3.21.17
By Correspondent/Eddy Kimani