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Slippery volcanic gravel put drivers to test in Equator Rally

NAIVASHA, Kenya, Apr 25 – The unpredictable weather conditions in the ARC Equator Rally has seen drivers adjust their strategy with navigators playing a key role on the final day of the African Rally Championship in Naivasha on Sunday.

Having witnessed mixed weather conditions on the opening day with some sections receiving heavy rains and others sunny, Day 3 and the final day was welcomed with morning heavy showers before it dried up later on.  

Malewa and Kedong, the two of the three stages in the last day of the rally action received morning showers, disorienting the drivers plans.

“The weather conditions are making the roads very slippery and unpredictable; one has to drive with caution especially after seeing many drivers fail to finish the race yesterday. Nature cannot be predicted so we have no option but to adapt with the situation,” Tundo, who is holding a 10-minute lead heading into the last loop of the rally in the afternoon said.

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According to Paramjit Semi, who is the Stage commander for Kedong said; “It started drizzling at 7:45am and went on till mid-morning.” 

At Malewa, stage commander Charlse Gikaria confirmed that it started raining around 8:00am.

Former rally navigator and Assistant Safety Officer Mutuma says that the rains are like a double-edged sword. On one end, the dust in most sections especially Kedong will be held down by the rain, but if the rain persists, the recently graded roads will be turned into slippery bush tracks.

Mutuma Added that the rains will make Loldia slippery and tricky especially due to the numerous hairpin turns, the type of soil and the thick bush.

Today the rally heads to the final day to conclude the three days of rally action that started on Friday with the shake down followed by Elementaita, Soysambu and Sleeping Warrior stages.

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On Sunday, action takes the drivers through Malewa 1, Loldia 1, Kedong, Malewa 2 and finish off with Loldia 2.

Malewa is 9.71km, Loldia is 11.33km and the longest section of the day is Kedong which is 32.68km and will be done once. All others stages will be done twice.

Chief Marshal, Linus Wahome told Capital Sports that the 2019 Candidate event saw Kedong deliver a big blow to most drivers as their vehicles chocked in the Dust. Manvir Baryyan was denied a podium finish after his vehicle chocked on the dust.

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