By: ABDUL SIDI
The battle for supremacy is set to increase as more local drivers are expected to force their way into the top-10 list in the second half of the 2015 Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally.
The rally resumes Wednesday morning from the Lake Manyara in Tanzania after a day’s break.
With the gap not as wide as one would expect after four days racing through tough conditions, drivers are expected to take more risks in to challenge for better positions and ultimate glory in the world famous rally.
“I am happy to be third and also happy to know the penalty issues have been solved before heading for the next half of the competition. We lost some time in the final stage of Day Four which did not help our plans. Luckily for us both Gorensson and Blomqvist also had problems in the stage so the gap did not grow bigger,’’ said Gregoire De Mevius, the former World Group N Champion.
FACING PROFESSIONAL TEAMS
Local drivers have to face professional teams like the Tuthill Porsche outfit and try to match their preparations in order to stay close to them.
Helped by the Tuthill outfit, both Stiq Blomqvist and Richard Gorensson have maintained steady pace at the top of the table and look set to defend their position until the end.
Local drivers have not given up with several joining the likes of Alastair Cavenagh and Carl Tundo, who have carried the Kenyan flag for most of the way so far.
The Rai brothers, Onkar and Tejvir have also maintained good pace to remain in the top-10 for much of the competition.
Seventy-eight-year-old Jayant Shah is the top Tanzanian driver doing well.
While majority of the drivers went on game rides, or some looked far that extra sleep a Rest Day on Tuesday, there was no such luxury for the service crews whose duties (or nightmares) started long before the competition began five days ago as they continued working on the machines.
One silly mistake such as not tightening a wheel nut, forgetting to replace a wheel spanner or jack in the car, putting water instead of petrol in the fuel tank can make the mechanic’ an instant villain.
CLASSIC RALLY RULES
Meanwhile, the rule in the Classic Rally allows cars and their drivers to miss the competition for a maximum of four days collectively or individuals before they are allowed back with certain penalty.
Missing a day costs the crew 300 minutes per day plus time allowed on the Competitive Stages estimated from the Time Itinerary.
Thus, the crew of Car 18 is expected to rejoin the rally today after missing the past couple of days as a result of an accident.
The car spent most of yesterday at the Service Park undergoing repairs and will rejoin the competition today.
Wednesday’s action will pass through Makuyuni, Mti Moja and Manduli.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION