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Champion Chager close on leader Amos at East African Safari Rally Classic

Defending champion Baldev Chager tactically continued to tighten the gap between him and current leader Eugenio Amos today as the two drivers maneuvered the demanding 7th leg of the East African Safari Rally Classic.

Guided by navigator Gareth Dawe through wet, twisty and slippery stages, Chager executed precise maneuvers, slashing Amos’s lead by over 10 minutes by the end of the days stage three.

Both Amos and Chager secured stage victories, with the Italian triumphing in the day’s first Mashenani Gate section tallying his stage wins to four and Chager claiming the day’s last Elenkay stage, while Josh McEarlen clinched the second stage.

In a key move, Chager capitalized on Eugenio’s breakdown in the second stage, seizing the opportunity to narrow the gap and make significant strides toward the top.

Chager explained, “Eugenio had a gearbox problem; we actually overtook him in that second stage. It’s one of those things that happen in this type of rally. Unfortunately, he got stuck but he went through.”

Amidst the action, the Clerk of Course had to shorten the last stage due to an active River Selenkay, presenting drivers with a challenge of crossing a muddy and wet flowing river before starting the shortened stage. Mud cars were deployed to assist, providing fans with a spectacular display of bush driving.

Kenya’s Rajesh Maini faced a challenging day and not starting the day as their car experienced a mechanical failure from the previous day, ultimately leading to the premature end of their rally.

Reflecting on the setback, Maini shared, “We had a fantastic start to the classic rally this year, enjoying four great days. Surprisingly, technical failures compelled us to withdraw. The crucial thing is that Devan and I are okay, and the car can be repaired. I’ve heard from fellow drivers that I missed out on a smooth and fast rally today. Despite this setback, we look forward to returning tomorrow, as we are currently not classified and will be in the super rally category.”

Commenting on the event, East Africa Rally Limited chairman Joey Ghose remarked, “This is a unique event, and I am 100% sure that there’s nowhere in the world with roads like this. I’m pleased to see the high pace from Eugenio, who has been setting the pace, and Baldev Chager, who has shown resilience.”

Driver Reactions:

Michael Kahlfuss: “We faced trouble in the first stage today with wet sand causing a delay. The second stage had some rough parts, with the car bouncing like a ball, requiring careful navigation.”

Lola Verlaque: “This is our first long Classic Rally, more mentally challenging. Today, a bit disappointed in myself, getting stuck in wet sand and causing delays. Despite that, we’re making new friends.”

Eric Bengi: “In the first stage, we struggled with the steering wheel, but caught up after some adjustments. The second stage was fast, and we had already aligned the car for an excellent performance.”

Aslam Khan: “We had an adventure in the first stage, getting stuck behind Lola. Proper classic rallying when conditions get really wet. Despite challenges, we’re enjoying every section.”

Philip Kyriazi: “Everything is going well for us. Some slippery places but overall great fun driving on challenging Safari Rally roads.”

Iain Dobson: “I’m surprised at the pace; the car is holding up well. Despite changing two drive shafts, I’m enjoying the event.”

Antony Nielsen: “We had a bit of panic yesterday with the engine misfiring, but today went well. Still learning the car and having fun despite some challenges.”

TOP 10 UNOFFICIAL RESULTS AFTER DAY 7

  1. Eugenio AMOS           Cl4       PORSCHE 911 11:08:14.8            11:08:14.8       
  2. Baldev CHAGER           Cl4       PORSCHE 911 11:19:09.6            11:19:09.6        10:54.8
  3. Emile BREITTMAYER    PORSCHE 911 11:29:36.8        11:29:36.8            21:22.0
  4. Kris ROSENBERGER     PORSCHE 911 11:38:23.1        11:38:23.1            30:08.3
  5. Bonamy GRIMES         PORSCHE 911 11:43:47.9        11:43:47.9            35:33.1
  6. Philip KADOORIE        PORSCHE 911 11:44:09.9        11:44:09.9            35:55.1
  7. Jourdan SERDERIDIS   PORSCHE 911 11:47:10.4        11:47:10.4            38:55.6
  8. Andrew SIDDALL         DATSUN 240Z 12:14:55.9        12:14:55.9            01:06:41.1
  9. Ian DUNCAN               DATSUN 280Z 12:15:54.2        12:15:54.2            01:07:39.4
  10. Michael HOLMQVIST  PORSCHE 911 12:27:45.2        12:27:45.2            01:19:30.4
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