NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 28 – Having already taken some impressive scalps in the ongoing East African Safari Classic Rally, Yorkshire based Richard Jackson took it easy through the first stage of Day 7 to extend his lead to minutes over Kenya’s Baldev Chager.
Such was the scenario as cars pulled in for the third successive night-stop at Neptune Beach Resort in Diani where searing heat has been the order of the day.
Jackson’s Tuthill Porsche returned fourth fastest on the day’s opening stage (CS16) at Mwambungo where he clocked 40.53minutes.
That was where Kenyan Baldev Boldy” Chager unleashed his full pace, going 44 seconds quicker than 1984 World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist.
In Jackson’s wake, Chager was grabbing the attention in the early morning run with the one stage win and second fastest on the last one. Intra Africa sponsored Bharij was delighted with third fastest on Mwambungo which saw him maintain fifth ahead of Stig.
Jackson backed off in the first stage citing rough conditions and had this to say: “It was a very rough run and we lost a bit of time there. We are still in front and there’s two days to go and anything can happen.”
“Our main plan is to get to the end and it would obviously be nice to win. I think in the history of this event there has been Kenyans winning apart from the two year’s when we had the Swedish former champions winning. So if we are going to have a British and in particular somebody from Yorkshire, we would be delighted,” he added.
Kenya’s Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo clung to third position but found the going manageable as compared to Tuesday’s Tanga route on Day 6 which featured the event’s longest stage of 155km.
“Not much of a tough rally today. We only did 70-80kms but it’s hot and it’s sweltering hot inside the car. Unfortunately they cancelled the middle sections. Apart from that, I drove slowly and I can’t catch the guys in front because it’s rough so am settling for third.”
Chager candidly admitted that Jackson and Ryan were putting much pressure on them. Said Chager.
“Richard and Ryan are doing exceptionally well, however he had the disadvantage of being first on the road today. We picked a little time on him in the first stage, second stage got cancelled, and third stage Ryan beat us by about 15 seconds so it’s a very tight race. Two days to go and we will keep the pace and keep the pressure.”
Raaji Bharij said the first 6 days have been really tough. “Just learning every day and figuring things out and it seems today (yesterday) was the magic day where we figured everything out. We got the car set up right at service.
“This morning we were third fastest and I think we might be the second fastest. We are happy about that, given that we have a car with less power than the rest.”
The Connolly brothers were all smiles with Jonathan Connolly saying: “This morning we knew the stage was going to be rough and it really was. So we backed off and didn’t want to damage the car and took it very gingerly and hopefully we haven’t lost much time.”
Stage 17 was cancelled because it was too rough and competitors were instructed to proceed to CS 18.
Rally Programme (1st car)
8:33:CS19 -Gazi 2-Maji ya Chumvi (126.84km)
11:19-CS20-Samburu2 -Giriama 1 (90.97km)
13:42-CS21 Mitangoni -Mwamkura 1 (23.50km)
15:34-Holding out -Shanzu
17:34- Shanzu Service Out
17:15-Whitesands Perc Ferme
END OF DAY 6 RESULTS -EASCR
- Richard Jackson/Ryan Champion (British /Porsche 911) 551.41minutes
- Baldev Singh Chager /Ravi Soni (Kenya /Porsche 911) 553.26
- Carl “Flash” Tundo/ Tim Jessop (Kenya/Triumph TR7) 560.49
- Geoff Bell/Timothy Challen (SA/Datsun 260Z)) 587,32
- Raaji Bharij /Rajay Sehmi 600,42