Kabras Sugar Racing team of Baldev Chager and his partner Tim Jessop won their second career Safari rally as the three-day event concluded at the Batian View on the foothills of Mount Kenya. Chager wrapped up the Safari with his transponder time reading just two hours, 47 minutes and 13 seconds.
Second overall in a Proton S2000 was Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo in 2:48.24 while Manvir Baryan driving a Subaru N16 sealed the podium dash after trailing Chager by a massive 4.53 minutes in 2:52.06. Fourth overall was Quentin Mitchell in a Scoda Fabia S2000 clocking 2:52.23 while 60-year-old Azar Anwar proved his experience was important as he guided his Mitsubishi EVO8 to fifth spot in a time of 2:57.27.
After the big guns had retired in the first two days of the competition, the chase for the title came down just two drivers pitting Chager against Tundo. Chager’s Mitsubishi Evox won the contest as Tundo’s Proton settled for the second spot. However, the biggest loser was Africa Rally Championship (ARC) leader Ivorian Gary Chaynes, who failed to seal the continental title in the penultimate stage when he retired with mechanical gremlins in the notorious Loldaiga hills.
Baryan of Kenya was the winner of ARC category and indeed the sole finisher in the continental series. The ARC title now goes down to the wire with the Ivroian leading with 101 points ahead of Essa Mohammed, who pulled out of the Safari in the 11th hour while second on 93. The last ARC event will be the Madagascar International Rally in November. Youngster Karan Patel won the S Class after returning his Subaru GC8 in ninth position.
Jonathan Somen, in a Ford Escort MK2, won the Classic Cup while Eric Bengi in a Toyota RunX secured the honours in the two-wheel-drive class. Chager was forced to fight in every mile against his spirited challengers and the crew managed to hold-off hard-charging Tundo by 61 seconds.
A jubilant Chager said: “Today we knew Loldaiga is going to be very technical stage. We had a two minute cushion over Tundo and we knew he was going to push very hard. I knew he was going to break it or make it, so he managed to pick over a minute on us, which was good. We beat him in Weatlads and Kisima. At the end of the day we still won so I’m very happy.”