NAIROBI, Kenya, September 14 – Baldev Chager and navigator Ravi Soni successfully defended the KCB Safari Rally title as curtains for the 62nd edition that was also the penultimate round of the FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) came down on Sunday at Batian View in Nanyuki County.
Chager, who took 2:47.13 to win his second career Safari, was pushed all the way to the wire by rival Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo who came second a minute later in a Proton S2000 whist Manvir Baryan sealed the podium dash after trailing Chager by a massive 4.53 minutes.
“Today we knew Loldaiga was going to be a very technical stage. We had a two minute cushion over Tundo and we knew he was going to push very hard.
“Tundo managed to pick over a minute on us which was good because we beat him in wheat lands and Kisima but he beat us by 6 seconds and we again beat him by a second in the section but at the end of the day we still won so I’m very happy on that but I must admit that Tundo has been hot on our heels,” Chager said after the win.
After big guns like Ian Duncan, Rajbir Rai, Issa Amwari and Onkar Rai retired on the second day of the competition; the chase for the coveted title was reduced to a two horse race.
Tundo, the 2012 champion, set the quickest times on the repeat run of the tormenting long Loldaiga stage where he beat Chager by over a minute but the champion upped his game when he checked into last service at Batian view to savour a second straight Safari crown.
The biggest loser was ARC leader Ivorian Gary Chaynes who failed to seal the continental title after he retired with mechanical complications on the notorious Loldaiga hill.
Kenyan Baryan won the ARC seventh round after being the sole finisher in the continental series.
Safari woes for Chaynes means the ARC title goes down to the wire with the Ivorian leading with 101 points, eight ahead of Zambian Essa Mohammed who pulled out of the Safari at the 11th hour.
The last leg of the continental championships heads to Madagascar in November.
Youngster Karan Patel won the S Class after returning his ex-Chager Subaru GC8 in 9th overall position.
Jonathan Somen in a Ford Escort MK2 won the Classic Cup while Eric Bengi in a Toyota RunX won the 2WD class after defending champion Dennis Mwenda retired on Saturday.
The event which also counted towards the 6th round of the Kenya National Rally Championship now heads to Kisumu for the next leg in October.
LEADING RESULTS KCB SAFARI RALLY 2014
1. Baldev Chager/Ravi Soni (EVOX) 02:47.13
2. Carl Tundo/Tim Jessop (Proton) 2:48.24
3. Manvir Baryan/Drew Sturrock (Subaru N16) 2:52.06
4. Quentin Mitchell/Nicholas Camara (Scoda Fabia S2000) 2:52.23
5. Azar Anwar/Julius Ngigi (EVO8) 2:57.27
6. Tejvir Rai/Zahir Shah (EVOX) 3:01.59
7. Duncan Mubiru/Musa Nsubuga (Subaru) 3:02.10
8. Jasmeet Chana/Ravi Chana (EVO9) 3:02.50
9. Karan Patel/Tauseef Khan (Subaru GC8) 3:05.29
10. Ronak Shah/Riyaz Ismail (Subaru N12B) 3:05.49