Last year’s KCB Safari Rally winner Baldev Singh Chager will be seeking nothing less than podium finish despite having dropped out in the last competitive stage during the M-Benki Nanyuki Rally.
The soft-spoken Kenya National Rally Champion has his eyes set on the Safari Rally podium.
The 62nd KCB Safari Rally, the seventh round of the FIA African Rally Championship, will be held in Nanyuki region on September 12-14.
Chager said: “ Safari is a big event, I’m told, it might be a three or a four-day event this time round, I think that brings back the old charm when we had to drive for four to five days of Rallying. Those were exciting times back then.”
There is about a month to go before the Safari Rally and much of the equipment required for the Mitsubishi EVO 10 that Chager is driving must be imported. The technical crew are nonetheless burning midnight oil to keep the car in good shape.
The Mitsubishi EVO 10 is running in group N category which is a show room specification car converted to a rallying contraption. It has limitation on the modification specifications required by the FIA which governs the Africa rallying championships.
“The EVO has been very kind to us this year; last year, we won the Safari and the KNRC with it. This year we have had two retirements one was an unfortunate gearbox problem, we have discovered that we have to change a couple of parts. In Nanyuki, we were just unfortunate with the car’s oil cooler, a stick pierced the oil cooler so all the oil poured out. EVOX is a very good car and we look forward to the Safari Rally success,” observed Chager.
Safari Rally adds value to the National Championship through the excess amount of points crews rake in as compared to a normal KNRC adds to excessive zest and anticipation.
This year’s Championship is tight as the top four are between 30 points seems like the person who wins the Safari Rally might win the Kenya National Rally Championship.
Besides having already won the Safari Rally last year Chager went on to win the overall Kenya National Rally Championship after a series of good round including winning the Guru Nanak.
He reckons Safari is a coveted title as it not only guarantees attraction to diverse motor sports sponsors but also places the driver in the calibre of the greats in Rallying in the country.
This year’s Safari Rally will be used as a test for a return to the World Rally Championships. The growth and maturity experienced in the National Rally championships since the withdrawal of the WRC sponsorship in 2002 has been tremendous.
New younger drivers and navigators have emerged.
Local rallying scene has been dominated by Baldev Charger, Carl Tundo, Ian Dancan, Peter Horsey, Alastair Cavenagh but now there is a new breed of drivers has come up and they are giving the veterans a run for their money if Rajbir Rai’s win in Nakuru was anything to go by.
Courtesy of Standard Digital News