Top seed rally driver Stiq Blomqvist started well on day one with an overnight lead at the East Africa Safari Classic Rally in a poor weather condition with leading cars got stuck in the first section after a river burst its banks.
The reigning race champion was closely by Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo and Baldev Chager coming in third place in his Kabras-sponsored Porsche.
After making his debut in the Safari Classic Rally, former Kenya champion Chager navigated by former Kenya National Division Two Champion Onkar Rai in the last two editions. Onkar is lying seventh in yet another Kabras-entered Porsche while the Cementers Team of Ramesh Vishram is lying in the top-10 in his Ford Escort Mark2.
Capri Duncan, the twice winner of the Safari Classic, is attempting the unprecedented third win behind the wheel of a Ford Capri. The Classic Rally Rules allow drivers to miss a maximum of four full days collectively or individually with penalties as specified in these regulations and still re-join the rally.
As per the rules, any driver exceeding four days will not be classified. Drivers are also permitted to miss any competitive section for the penalty as laid down in these regulations. Unfortunately, the organisers had to cut short the first stage as leading cars got stranded in the opening section of the competition.
The third stage of the marathon rally was canceled due to loss of adequate time in the opening wet section. Thus Stage Two was the only section to be run clear.
The disaster in the opening day of the Classic Rally brought back old memories when wet stages were normal part of the real action.
The first section was canceled due to wet and slippery conditions as seven of the first lot of cars found it impossible to maneuver through stage because of the poor condition.
Meanwhile, rally traffic will today cross over to Tanzania side but will be back again to Amboseli night stop at Ol Tukai after covering a distance of 534km.
Day Two will revolve around the Amboseli Lodge with further three stages through Ol Tukai (100kms), Ol Donyo Sambu (117kms) and Ambo Gate (51kms) before spending the second consecutive night at the Amboseli Lodge. “The stage tends to become rough with many mud holes jumps and river beds,” said Rally Manager Pipi Renu.
Unlike in the past when rally cars camped in Tanzania for two days, this time it’s a day to Arusha and back. Earlier yesterday, governor Ali Hassan Joho flagged off the event from Sarova Whitesands where 30 cars started the journey