NAIROBI, Kenya, January 27 – Baldev Singh Chager aka “Boldy” 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 1:08:24 in soaring temperatures, but admitted candidly that he felt somewhat hassle-free when he saw Peter Horsey’s EVO X by the roadside and Ian Duncan’s EVO 9 on a flat.
Duncan finished second in 1:08:24 while Azar Anwar sealed the podium with 1:13:14.
Partnering up with a new navigator, Ravi Soni, Chager had his victory sewn up when Duncan’s run was stymied with 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,”
This is indeed the first win for Subaru in four years since 2008 when Chager last won the KNRC in his old N12 model.
For Soni this was he’s first career win and his first outing with Boldy.
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.
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 the 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 Onkarai 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.
Onkar’s car was reduced to a shell following heavy impact with a bump.
Up next for the drivers Is the Voi rally which is scheduled for the February 23 and 24 to be organized by the East Africa Safari Rally Limited.
1.Baldev Chager/Ravi Soni (Subaru N16) 1.08.27
2.Ian Duncan/Amaar Slatch (EVO9) 1.10.24
3.Azar Anwar/Julius Ngige (EVO8) 1.13.44