By: ABDUL SIDI
Kenya’s Alastair Cavenagh is the man to watch in the 2015 East African Safari Classic Rally after the driver took the lead of the rally on Day One of the competition.
“We are going step by step, trying to stay on the road where other drivers are leaving the road due to the slippery conditions. We got worried towards the end of the last stage when our Porsche 911 started overheating due to a broken fan belt. Hopefully, it did not do the car much damage,’’ said Cavenagh.
Cavenagh said he would do all his best to fly the Kenyan flag, although it was too early to make predictions in the race following the early retirement of Ian Duncan and Carl Tundo.
DUNCAN PULLED OUT
Kenya’s hopes in the event looked dim as Ian Duncan, who has dominated the competition, pulled out. Duncan has won the rally twice- in a Ford Mustang and later in a Ford Capri.
Things got worse on Thursday when Carl Tundo and Tim Jessop were sidelined after their Triumph TR7 stopped with a damaged radiator soon after the start. Tundo’s hopes of giving the Triumph TR7 its first finish in Kenya were cut short after his car stopped with a damaged radiator at the end of a flooded river. Former World champion Stiq Blomqvist, in a Triumph TR7, is second. Day Two action starts from the Whitesands Hotel at 6am.
The rally started Thursday from the Whitesands Hotel with 51 crews drawn from as far as Argentina, Sweden, South Africa, Germany, Britain and France.
“We are happy to be associated with the event that has earned the respect of the local and international crews. The organisers have always done well with the running of the rally,’’ said Chris Diaz, Kenya Airways Marketing Director after flagging the first batch of cars on Thursday.
World famous racing driver from Sweden, Richard Goransson, is placed third in yet another Porsche 911, while his team-mate and former World Group NChampion Gregoire de Mevius is placed fifth. Onkar Rai (eighth) and Aslam Khan (10th) are the other Kenyan drivers who finished in the top 10 in their respective Porsche cars.
Day One results: 1.Alastair Cavengh/Gavin Laurence (Porsche) 96:19mins, 2. Stig Blomqvist/Stephane Prevot (Porsche 911-Sweden) 98:31, 3. Richard Goransson/Emil Axelsson/ (Porsche 911-Sweden) 102:45, 4. Joakim Roman/Jorgen Fornander (Porsche 911-Sweden) 104:55, 5. Gregoire de Mevius/Nicolas Gilsoul (Porsche 911-Belgium) 107:52, 6. David von Schinkel/Per Bjorkman (Porsche 911-Sweden) 112:40, 7. Jorge Perez Companc/Jose Volta (Ford Escort RS 1800 2-Argentina) 117:9, 8. Onkar Rai/ Baldev S. Chager/(Porsche 911-Kenya) 117:45, 9. Matthais Kahle/Thomas Schunemann (Datsun 260Z-Germany)120:45, 10. Aslam Khan (Porsche) 121:51.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION