MOMBASA, Kenya- Yorkshire-based Englishman; Richard Jackson and his navigator Ryan Champion took it easy through the first stage of Day 7 of the Kenya Airways East Africa Classic Rally but still managed to extend the lead.
Action spilled to Mwambungo in the South Coast where Jackson increased the advantage over Kenyan ace, Baldev ‘Singh’ Chager having taken impressive scalps in the back-breaking event.
Jackson’s Tuthill Porsche returned fourth fastest on the day’s opening stage (CS16) at Mwambungo where he clocked 40.53minutes.
That was where Chager unleashed the full throttle, going 44 seconds quicker than 1984 World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist.
In Jackson’s wake, Chager was grabbing the attention in the early morning run with the one stage win and second fastest on the last one with Raaji Bharij delighted with third fastest time of the day which saw him maintain fifth spot ahead of Blomqvist.
“It was a very rough run and we lost a bit of time there. We are still in front and there’s two days to go and anything can happen.
“Our main plan is to get to the end and it would obviously be nice to win. I think in the history of this event, there has been Kenyans winning apart from the two years the Swedish former champions came on top,” Jackson who backed off in the first stage citing rough conditions said.
“So, if we are going to have a Briton and in particular, somebody from Yorkshire as champion, we would be delighted,” he added
Kenya’s Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo clung to third but found the going somewhat manageable as compared to Tuesday’s Tanga route on Day 6 which featured the event’s longest stage of 155km.
“Not much of a tough rally today. We only did 70-80kms but it’s hot and it’s sweltering hot inside the car.
“Unfortunately, they cancelled the middle sections. Apart from that, I drove slowly and I can’t catch the guys in front because it’s rough so I’m settling for third,” Tundo underscored.
Chager candidly admitted that Jackson and Ryan were putting much pressure on them.
“However, he had the disadvantage of being first on the road today. We picked a little time on him in the first stage, second stage got cancelled, and third stage Ryan beat us by about 15 seconds so it’s a very tight race.
“Two days to go and we will keep the pace and keep the pressure,” the local ace emphasised.
“Just learning every day and figuring things out and it seems today (yesterday) was the magic day where we figured everything out. We got the car set up right at service.
“This morning we were third fastest and I think we might be the second fastest. We are happy about that, given that we have a car with less power than the rest,” Bharij remarked.
Stage 17 was cancelled because it was too rough and competitors were instructed to proceed to CS 18.
Thursday (Day 8)
8:33:CS19 -Gazi 2-Maji ya Chumvi (126.84km)
11:19-CS20-Samburu2 -Giriama 1 (90.97km)
13:42-CS21 Mitangoni -Mwamkura 1 (23.50km)
15:34-Holding out -Shanzu
17:34- Shanzu Service Out
17:15-Whitesands Perc Ferme
END OF DAY 6 RESULTS -EASCR
- Richard Jackson/Ryan Champion (British /Porsche 911) 551.41minutes
- Baldev Singh Chager /Ravi Soni (Kenya /Porsche 911) 553.26
- Carl “Flash” Tundo/ Tim Jessop (Kenya/Triumph TR7) 560.49
- Geoff Bell/Timothy Challen (SA/Datsun 260Z)) 587.32
- Raaji Bharij /Rajay Sehmi 600.42