Baldev Chager navigated by Ravi Soni took the overnight lead after day 1 of the 9th edition of the East African Safari Classic Rally powered by M-PESA having tackled the 3 stages set for the day.
Driving the Kabras Sugar Racing Porsche 911, Charger managed to complete the day with the best overall time of 2:30:18 opening a 26-second gap between him and fellow countryman and Kabras Sugar Racing teammate Onkar Rai who came in second with a time of 2:30:44.
The multiple rally champion with over 40 podium finishes won the first stage Mackinnon to Maungu and he is touted as one of the drivers to watch out for.
“Its only day one and its really fast and no one is letting up despite the stages being very tricky. We lost the gear at the end of stage 2 and also lost a considerable amount of time on transport.
2015 Classic rally champion Stig Blomqvist navigated by Jorgen Fornander sits third with a time of 2:37:48.
The day saw most drivers complain about the third stage of the day Mwatate to Shelembwa which they experienced a lot challenges owning to the rocky and rough conditions of it.
“I have not seen a stage like this in a historical rally like this. Everything there was plenty of wash aways and every meter you get a wash away and you don’t know where to pass. We had a broken shock absorber. The first and second were very good and we enjoyed it because it was drivable” Fabrizia Pons speaking after day 1.
It wasn’t a good start for two times classic rally winner and local ace Ian Duncan navigated by Anthony Nielsen in their Rover Vitesse. 40 Km into the first stage their engine overheated and stopped motoring. The crew is sorting out the problem and the plan is to pick up from where they left tomorrow
The youngest entrant in the rally Osian Pryce navigate by Dale Furniss who is taking part in the classic rally for the first time had several issues in his run today but managed to beat the field and win the third stage.
“We bent the steering the first stage and found it difficult to get used to the roadbook. It was difficult to get the right balance. In the second stage, we really didn’t enjoy had to get the rhythm and the third stage we decided we will just get through with the day and have a good finish.”
Day 2 is lined up with another three stages that will cover a total of 235 Km with the longest being the third stage with a total distance of 117 Km from Longido to Mondili. The competitors will start off from Voi Wildlife Lodge at 7 am and will cross over to Arusha.
The first car will then be expected to arrive for the overnight stay in Arusha at 7:07 pm at Mount Meru Hotel, Arusha