KWALE,Ukunda,July 8- Alastair Cavenagh is back in the groove. The double 1999 and 2010 former Kenya Champion swept the ground with all his adversaries to win the KCB S&L Mortgages Rally with zest and vigor.
Teaming up with Congo based Gavin Laurence, Cavenagh drove like a man possessed on the flat-out roads of Kwale County and no eyebrows were raised when he brought home his Mitsubishi EVO9 contraption back in at the Leisure Lodge Golf course which hosted the ceremonial finish and the event HQs.
Mombasa’s former Pirelli Africa star driver Peter Horsey clocked 1.39.37 hours to finish second overall in his Mitsubishi EVOX machine which he has previously raced in Europe a few years back.
The 1994 WRC Safari Rally winner Ian Duncan timed 1.42.25hours to seal the podium dash while Quentin Mitchell from Tigoni returned his Subaru N16 contraption in 1.42.55 hours to finish fourth.
Quentin was happy with his position.
The going wasn’t rosy for four times Safari Rally winner Carl Tundo who had his spirited charge stymied with punctures.
Tundo picked up two punctures on CS3 stage and one on the preceding stage.
In an interview, Cavenagh was ecstatic to end years of anxiety and waiting in the coast tour of the KNRC.
“Its great to finally win the coast rally after 15 years of trying,” quipped Cavenagh as he awaited major celebrations.
In winning the Mombasa Rally diadem, Cavenagh earned a bonus in recapturing the Johnny Hellier Memorial Trophy for the best Coast driver. Last year this trophy was won by Naishad Kara of Lota Motorsports on returning his Subaru in 7th place.
What’s more, the victory was a welcome relief for Cavenagh- on his home event- weeks after retiring from last month’s Safari Rally while leading the Kenyan round of the African Rally championship with 56seconds as at the third stage.
Rightly so, this was Cavenagh’s first victory since the KCB Personal Loans Rally in Voi in February 2011. Driving his 2010 championship winning Mitsubishi Evolution 9, Cavenagh swept the ground with all and sundry and won accolades for his aggressive drive on the Ukunda Airstrip super special which was run on Saturday and Sunday.
The event staged around Shimba Hils and Kinango region handed crews a fair share of gremlins and claimed a number of cars in the hot and dusty day of racing. Baldev Chager retired with fuel pump problems.
Three time former Kenya Champion Azar Anwar retired after his EVO7 car lost power. Hardeep Rehsi was out on CS2 40kms in on breaking the rear suspension arm. Other casualties were reigning 2WD Champion James Kirimi and Leonardo Varese.
Hussein Malik and Steven Njenga kissed the event goodbye after they rolled their Subaru gc8 car on CS2.
Other retirees included Jonathan Somen(Ford Escort) after the propeller shaft packed up, Yusuf Khalid(Toyota Levin) with a blown engine and Anwar Pandya (Subaru N10) with a damaged diff.
The Safaricom Team of Ben Muchemi (EVO7), Nzioka Waita (Subaru N10) and Stanley Thuo (subaru) were elated to finish the coast event.
“It was a navigators rally with very tricky stages. At least we’ve compensated for our exit in the Safari Rally where we retired on the last section,” said Waita’s navigator Laban Cliff.
Provisional Final Results
1. Alastair Cavenagh/G. Laurence (EVO9) 1.38.43
2. Peter Horsey/Bella E. 1.39.37
3. Ian Duncan/Amaar Slatch (EVO9) 1.42.25,
4. Quentin Mitchell/Chris Davis (SubaruN16) 1.42.55.