MOMBASA, November 19 – Two-times Kenya Champion Alastair Cavenagh took the overnight lead over former world champion Stig Blomqvist as Day 1 of the Kenya Airways EA Classic Rally came to a dramatic end at the Coastal City on Thursday.
Driving a Porsche 911, Cavenagh who led the opening day by 2.12minutes ahead of Blomqvist, launched his campaign effectively sewn-up when the initial leader Geoff Bell of South Africa suffered engine problems in the second section around Gongoni in Kilifi County.
Porsche 911 dominated the top 6 positions with Argentine Jorge Perez Companc racking up seventh place in a Ford Escort RS 1800.
Completing the awesome 1-2-3 Porsche 911 podium was swede Richard Goransson who clocked 70:15minutes in the two stages run for the day.
Another Swede Joakim Roman came in fourth in a time of 71:47minutes.
Cavenagh’s lead turned out to be a good consolation to his brother Adrian who had earlier rolled with Britain’s John Lloyd.
Cavenagh’s navigator Gavin Laurence was all smiles as classic cars pulled in to the Sarova night stop saying their lead after the opening two sections had come as a pleasant surprise.
“It was a good day. We set off in some reasonable pace. We had no major problems. We only broke the fan-belt about 10kms before the end of section 2 but changed it straight after the TC.
We are now going into tomorrow’s (Friday) leg unfortunately high up the field.
We have always performed quite well in muddy conditions so it came as a surprise when we realised others got problems during the day,” Gavin said.
Day one’s itinerary featured two stages around Ndindiri, Kasava and Gongoni regions.
The competitive mileage was however reduced to 163.38kms following the cancellation of the 68.06km CS3 Sososbora-Kasava stage due to what organisers termed safety reasons.
After cancellation of CS3, Clerk of the course Richard Lekee released bulletin 9 asking all competitors to travel from Gongoni to Shanzu service where a holding area of 20minutes was organised.
Following heavy overnight downpour, the 109.13km CS2 stage was rendered wet and slippery with several cars getting stuck in there.
Three times former Kenya champion Carl “Flash” Tundo was in trouble when crossing a river with sources reaching the rally office saying something went through his radiator.
As a result of adverse conditions, service time was extended from two to three hours to accommodate the muddy situation.
There was plenty of drama in the day with car no 18 of Roger Samuelsson and Robin Friberg rolling 18km into the first section.
Englishman John Lloyd also rolled his Ford Escort which is being serviced by Viking Motorsports.
Friday will see the cars head to Amboseli but not until tackling stages in Samburu and Mackinon Road.
FRIDAY ITINERARY (DAY2) first cars
06:58hrs-CS4: Kasava 3-Samburu 1 (103.94km)
09:09hrs- CS5: Mackonon Road- Teita Grid (82.25km)
14:52hrs: CS6: Isineti 1-Erimeto (23.50km)
End of Day 1 Results (after CS2)
1. Alastair Cavenagh/Gavin Laurence (Porsche 911-Kenya) 96:19
2. Stig Blomqvist/ (Porsche 911-SWE) 98:31
3. Richard Goransson/Emil Axelsson (Porsche 911-Sweden) 102:45
4. Joakim Roman/Jorgen Fornander (Porsche 911-Sweden) 104:55
5. Gregoire De Mevius (Porsche 911-Belgium) 107:52
6. David von Schinkel/Per Bjorkman (Porsche 911-Sweden) 112:40
7. Jorge Perez Companc/Jose Volta (Ford Escort RS 1800-Argentina) 117:9
8. Onkar Rai/Baldev Chager (Porsche 911-KEN)
9. Francois Kicq/Andre Leyh (Porsche 911-Belgium) 120:45
10. Aslam Khan/Arshad Khan (Porsche 911-Kenya) 121:51
11. Matthais Kahle/Thomas Schunemann (Datsun 260Z-Germany) 122:50