NAIVASHA, Kenya, Apr 23 – Reigning Kenyan Champion Baldev Chager and his navigator Ravi Soni will be the first off the ramp when Leg1 of the ARC Equator Rally takes center stage on Saturday at Soysambu Conservancy.
The Kabras Sugar Racing driver will be driving a Mitsubishi Evolution 10 and will be followed up by former KNRC Two Wheel Drive Champion Eric Bengi and his navigator Peter Mutuma who will also be cruising in a Mitsubishi Evolution 10-R4 car while Ugandan Duncan Mubiru navigated by Musa Nsubuga in a Subaru Impreza will take off in third spot.
South Africa Guy Botterril and Simon Vacy -Lyle in Toyota Etios E5 will start in fourth place while Karan Patel and Tauseef Khan in a Ford Fiesta will be the fifth crew off KWS Training Institute.
Five-time Safari Rally winner Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo navigated by Tim Jessop in a Minti Motorsport Volkswagen Polo R5 will start off in seventh followed by Onkar Rai and Drew Sturrock of Great Britain in eighth place despite finishing first on the qualifying stage on Friday. Onkar beat Karan Patel by a mere 4.04 seconds in the designated 5.40km qualifying stage at Loldia.
The 1994 WRC Safari Rally winner Ian Duncan and his partner Tej Sehmin will come off the ramp at 17th spot. Duncan is tackling this event in a Classic Nissan 24oRS courtesy of Minti Motorsport.
The first run on Saturday will be a 14.67km Elmenteita stage which will be using tracks from the old type Safari.
Soysambu is a 20.33km stage while Sleeping Warrior (30.98km) is the longest run tomorrow. The stage is located in the shadow of a hill that resembles a Warrior Sleeping and crisscrosses the natural plain before a rocky finish.
The FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) event was flagged off on Friday by Sport CS Amina Mohammed at the Kenya Wildlife Service Training Institute following an early morning Free Practice, Qualifying Stage and Shakedown at Loldia.
Meanwhile, Outgoing Kenya 2WD Navigator’s Champion Wayne Fernandes says it will be nice to feel the WRC route and pace in a setting that will host world rally drivers..
“What I’ve noted in the past is that the route always has something new, thanks to our weather here in Kenya, we have done Soysambu at least four times in the past three years, it’s always got something different along the way; be it a new mud hole or a tree stump at a hairpin,” Fernades said.
He added, “So yes, I’m sure between ARC and WRC something will be additional along the way. The uniqueness and toughness of Kenyan routes also adds a little zest to the Equator Rally.”
Kenya Motor Sport Federation Chairman and Safari Rally CEO Phineas Kimathi on his part said: “The route for Equator Rally is both scenic and very challenging. The idea of the Safari is to live our long-term reputation of being the toughest rally in the world. Equator will act as a dry run for the Safari and will give officials an opportunity to assess their preparedness well in time,” Kimathi stated.
2021 ARC EQUATOR RALLY KENYA LEG 1 ITINERARY
ITINERARY- Saturday 24 April 2021
Parc Fermé OUT – Service in 7:00
Service A – KWS Naivasha
Service OUT – Refuel 7:15
SS1 Elmenteita 1: 14.67km -08:13
SS2 Soysambu 20.33km- 08:41
Remote refuel, all competitors – Elmenteita (32.00)
SS3 Sleeping Warrior 1: 30.98km 9:55
Service B – KWS Naivasha (65.98)
SS4 Elmenteita 2: 14.67km- 13:08
SS2 Soysambu 20.33km- 13:36
SS6 Sleeping Warrior 2: 30.98km- 14:50
6A Parc Ferme’ – Technical Zone IN
6B Parc Feme’ OUT – Flexi Service IN-16:35
Service C – KWS Naivasha
Service OUT – Parc Fermé IN- 17:20
All cars (except restarting crews) must enter Parc Fermé no later than: 21:00
Leg 1 Totals 131.96 257.92 389.88