Chager, Soni lead drivers to start of day six action

Tuesday November 28 2017

Jonathan Somen and Richard Heckle drive their car through a water crossing on November 26, 2017 during the 2017 East Africa Classic Safari Rally. PHOTO | ANWAR SIDI |

Jonathan Somen and Richard Heckle drive their car through a water crossing on November 26, 2017 during the 2017 East Africa Classic Safari Rally. PHOTO | ANWAR SIDI |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By ABDUL SIDI
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The Kenya Airways East Africa Safari Classic Rally resumes Tuesday after a day’s rest.

Former Safari Rally champions Baldev Singh Chager and Ravi Soni, who are leading Britons Richard Jackson and Ryann Champion in the competition by less than two minutes, will lead the pack of 27 surviving drivers to start of Day Six action.

Like the rest of the crews, Chager spent Monday reflecting on the past four days of the battle which he said have been interesting.

“Day one started very well but we broke our fan belt in Stage Two which lost us a lot of time. We suffered a rear torsion bar failure in Tanzania and drove 120km and lost time there again.?But the boys have done a fantastic job in keeping the car running. We hope So it has been a consistent two days at a good pace. We have four days to go so we have to be careful all the way. But being first on the road, we have experienced lots of traffic?that is not very comfortable,’’ said the Kabras-sponsored Chager.

Third-placed Carl Tundo remained optimistic of overhauling an eight-minute difference from Chager, considering the title race is still open, with many stages left for drivers to cover.

“We suffered two broken radiators. We stopped in two out of three stages. But we are?still in the running for the title. The stages have been good, with the exception of the last one.?Our plan is to keep the car together,’’ said Tundo.

Surinder Thatthi, who is one the FIA vice presidents, urged organisers to maintain high standards in the event after the death of JS Vohra.

Shell-sponsored Jonathan Somen was also happy with his performance, having reported no serious problems with his Ford Escort.

“We are very happy with our performance so far. We have finished sixth overall every day in our Ford Escort car against much more powerful Porsche and other cars. We managed to get through the mud on CS1 stage on day one, so that helped us start well.? We were aiming for a top 10 finish, so to be just outside the top five is great but we have to be smart and keep doing what we have been doing from the start,’’ said Somen.

Vivo Energy’s Marketing and Customer Care Manager Mark Senteu said the company is proud to be associated with the competition which will help nurture future competitors.?

‘’Motorsport, like all other sports in Kenya, remains as an exhibition of what raw talent exists in our nation. Every talent is a valuable mineral that awaits to be mined. We should all act by sponsoring or participating on the events to help unlock potential in the motorsport,’’ said Senteu.