Baldev Chager clinches 2019 Safari title

Kenya’s Baldev Chager put up a gallant show  to win his third Safari Rally title after clinching victory in the last competitive stage of the 2019 KCB Safari Rally on Sunday.

The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 10 car of Chager and his navigator – Ravi Soni took full advantage of Manvir Baryan’s misfortunes in the last few kilometres of the competition to win one of the most imports events in his rallying career.

“I am overjoyed to win the rally after a tough battle for the competition. This rally has been one of the most tense and tough event in my rallying career. It was a hard struggle but in the end we succeed as the overall winners,’’ Chager said.

Carl Tundo, who missed out on hitting a record of five victories in the Safari Rally, finished second in a Mitsubishi Lancer car with Tim Jessop.

Tundo said they were lucky to have finished the rally despite several mishaps, which included losing 20 seconds in the final service.

Onkar Rai rolled in the second competitive stage of the competition while lying second overall in his Skoda Fabia car. This was Rai’s second consecutive accident in the Safari Rally, having suffered a similar problem in last year’s edition.

Although Rai’s navigator Gareth Dawe was admitted to hospital with back injuries after the incident, the two were lucky to walk away without any injuries on Sunday.

Their car was badly damaged.

“We hit couple of bumps at very high speeds before the car nose-dived and rolled. We are lucky there were no major injuries, but our luck in the Safari Rally did not improve at all,’’ Rai said at the final Time Control.

Izhar Mirza and Kavir Dave also escaped with minor injuries after their Mitsubishi Lancer car rolled in the second stage of Day Three.

Ian Duncan, the last Kenyan driver to have won the Safari Rally when it was part of the World Rally Championship calendar, finished fourth in Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10 car, with Anthony Nielson by his side.

Duncan is a multiple Kenya National Rally Championship winner. Chief of Staff in the Office of the President Nzioka Waita also finished the rally in 24th place in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9, with Laban Cliff Onserio as his navigator.

Four foreign crews performed commendably well to finish in the top 10. They included Leroy Gomes/Urshlla Gomes (Zambia/Ford Fiesta), Jassy Singh/Sajid Khan (Zambia/ Subaru Impreza), Giancarlo Devine/Sylvia Vindevogel (Rwanda/Mitsubishi Lancer) and Yassin Nasser/Ali Katumba (Uganda/Subaru Impreza).

The Safari Rally is seeking to regain World Rally Championship status, and senior officials from the global body, led by FIA Safety Delegate Michelle Mouton, have been present during the entire competition.

Geoff Mayes limped into the penultimate Service Point of the competition with a damaged clutch in his Land Rover, and mechanics got it ready for the final two stages.

At 24 years of age, McRae Kimathi, navigated by Evan Mwenda, was the youngest driver to finish the rally in 21st place in a Subaru Impreza car. McRae is son of Safari Rally Project CEO Phineas Kimathi.

Kimathi also contested the Safari Rally in 1998. With Abdul Sidi, they scored their first ever WRC points for the Hyundai Team by finishing first in class and 18th overall.


Share Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

By Same Author