By: ABDUL SIDI
A dream finally came true for Stiq Blomqvist as he registered his first victory in the Kenya Airways East African Safari Classic Rally, winning the seventh edition of the competition on Friday.
After years of struggle, and with a great effort of maintaining the lead in all, but one of the nine days of the competition, Blomqvist proved he was one of the best European drivers to grace the Safari Rally from the days Kenya was at the height of the World Rally Championship series.
“To win a rally in Kenya is very special for me after years of trying. Kenya is a beautiful place. I am very happy for myself and my Porsche team for making it possible for me to win the big rally,” said Blomqvist.
This was the first win on the African continent for the Swede since winning the 1984 World Rally Championship Cote d’Ivoire leg in an Audi Quattro.
His first ever Safari Rally finish (13th) was in 1971 in a Saab V4.
Luck was not with the Kenyan drivers after Cavenagh lost the lead on Day Two never to regain it.
Despite his heroics Cavenagh was unable to catch the front runners due to a series of mechanical issues, eventually finishing in fourth place in his Porsche. He was the best placed best local driver.
Kenyans Raaji Bharij and Rajay Sehmi guided their Ford Escort to a sixth place despite mechanical and heath issues.
Bharij survived an injured wrist to drive to the finish to score a commendable top-10 place in the rally.
His the best-placed Ford Escort.
1. Stig Blomqvist/Stephane Prevot (Porsche 911-Sweden) 15hrs:40mins:07secs
2. Richard Goransson/Emil Axelsson/ (Porsche 911-Sweden) 15:48:06
3. Gregoire de Mevius/Nicolas Gilsoul (Porsche 911-Belgium) 16:06:39
4. Alastair Cavenagh/Gavin Laurence (Porsche 911-Kenya) 16:53:10
5. Bernard Munster/Johan Gitsels (Porsche 911-Belgium) 16:56:10
6. Raaji Bharij/Ranjeet Sehmi (Ford Escort -Kenya)17:20:29
7. Jayant Shah/Ravi Chana (Porsche 911-Tanzania) 17:38:01
8. Richard Jackson/Ryan Champion (Porsche 911-British)17:38:40
9. Steve Troman/Calvin Cooledge (Porsche 911 –British) 17:40:23
10. Jan Hagman/Philip Clarke (Ford Escort RS 1800-Sweden
SOURCE: DAILY NATION