MACHAKOS, Kenya, March 2- Defending champions Baldev Singh Chager navigated by Ravi Soni in a Mitsubishi EVO X racked- up his maiden win of the season as the dust finally settled on the KCB Machakos Rally.
Victory in the County of the moment gave the ‘Flying Sikh’ back-to-back wins in the Kenya Motor Sports Club round of the KNRC which he won in Kajiado last year.
Second overall was Rajbir Rai followed by Jasmeet Chana in third. This was a career best for both podium finishers in an event marked by upsets galore.
Chager who won three rallies last year had his campaign effectively sewn-up when co-favourites Carl Tundo and Ian Duncan retired in CS5 and CS1 respectively.
Tundo who won last month’s Malindi Rally ended his interest with a blown turbo whilst Duncan cited heavy civilian traffic in the opening stage as his reason for withdrawal.
Tundo led the rally after the first stage but Chager nosed ahead in CS5 following his rival’s woes.
“I really had to keep an eye on the youngsters who were pushing really hard,” said Chager of the high-flying upcomers like Rajbir Rai and Jassi Chatthe who have been driving aggressively of late.
The second round of the KCB KNRC took crews through some straight and flat-out sections around Machakos and its environs.
All stages were centered around Nairobi-Mombasa highway at Ulu, Konza, Kilome, Kapiti Plains and Salama.
Fans who turned out for the event were treated to some exhilarating displays of high octane rallying.
Organizers KMSC ran a total of 11 stages with a competitive mileage totalling 173 kilometres. The most exciting stage of them all was the ‘power stage’ which also ran as one of the two designated spectator stages inside the People’s Park in Machakos.
Sunday’s race saw some of the top contenders fall by the wayside.
Issa Amwari retired on the transport road section in Ulu en-route to Tumaini School Service Park when he hit bump and damaged the EVO9’s sump-guard.
Car number 28 of Waita Nzioka and Laban Cliff in an ex-Ben Muchemi EVO9 retired with gearbox problems.
Hardeep Rehsi had a good run in the morning session but had his run impended by a puncture.
Joe Muchiri (Subaru gc8) and Hussein Malik (EVO6) rolled after hitting a culvert on the same spot at the end of the 8.45km CS1 stage which ran from Katumani to Kapiti Plains.
Jassi Chatthe kissed the event goodbye on transport after CS1 with engine failure. Chatthe proceeds to Ivory Coast or the Rally Bandama which is the first round of the African Rally championship next weekend.
Imran Mogul and Adnan Din also retired with a broken left drive shaft while lying fifth.
The third round of the KNRC heads to Kiambu on April Apri 26-27.
Provisional final results-KCB Machakos Rally
1. Baldev Chager (EVOX) 1:3107
2. Rajbir Rai (EVOX) 1:38.05
3. Jasmeet Chana (EVO9) 1:43.33