Kenyan rally driver Baldev Chager won his maiden East African Safari Classic Rally claiming the title in an incident-free final day of action on Friday at the Kenyan coastal town of Watamu.
Chager won the 10th edition of the race finishing ahead of Sweden’s Patrick Sandell and compatriot Ian Duncan, respectively.
Chager, navigated by Drew Sturrock racing in a Porsche 911, remarkably did not win a single stage during the event managing top five finishes which kept him atop the leader board for majority of the event.
Chager, who has won the Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) four times, said winning the Safari Classic was more prestigious to him.
“This is like winning eight Kenya Nationals back-to-back in nine days. The feeling of this is exceptional, especially because it is not just the normal people we are competing with, it’s all the international people.”
Chager also dedicated his victory to Tejveer Rai, the Team Kabras driver who suffered a horrible injury at the 2021 World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally in June last year.
Sandell, who was involved in a tussle for second place with Duncan, was happy to finish the race but lamented a drive shaft failure which cost him valuable time.
“We are happy with second and we definitely are coming back (next year),” Sandell said.
“We’d love to come back. The event was well organized, all the people are very friendly, so it’s been just an amazing experience to come here. For sure, we are going to try and come back next time, and we will be 100 percent more prepared because we have (already) done the rally one time.”
Raju Chaggar, clerk of the Safari Rally course, said he was very happy that the event went on smoothly and the participants were satisfied.
“It’s been very, very hectic but very rewarding. 12 months of hard work, to see the way the rally ran…clockwork, no big accidents even though it was the fastest Classic ever…it is a big relief for me.”
“Hearing from the drivers…they are all very, very happy. I have had the best reviews ever! In all my rallies, this has been my best ever.”