Report by Samson Ateka
As Kenya Airways East Safari Classic Rally cars motored towards the third night-stop at Sarova Taita Hills Lodge, defending champion Stig Blomqvist regretted losing his lead for the first time to Carl “Flash” Tundo (above).
Carl had his campaign effectively sewn up when Blomqvist suffered gearbox gremlins on the day’s last section towards Wundanyi. But it is still early days for Carl to rejoice, what with a slim advantage over compatriot Baldev “Boldy” Chager. Chager, who is making his driving debut on the Safari Classic, set the fastest time on the early morning first stage and finished the day second overall.
Blomqvist’s gearbox woes dipped him from first to eighth position going into the halfway stage and the 1984 World Rally Champion candidly admitted that he had lost a realistic chance of chasing the leading pack. Blomqvist led the pack up to the penultimate section towards Tsavo Road but couldn’t make up for his deficit and was compelled to drive in reverse direction for almost half the stage in his recovery bid.
“We had gearbox problems which interfered with the last section. It has affected our lead but I know our team is working round the clock to get the problems sorted and the plan for now it’s just to wake up in the morning and get going,” said Blomqvist.
Richard Jackson of GB clocked a cumulative total of 293.29 minutes to end the day in third. Coming in fourth was South African, Geoff Bell, as Kenya’s Raaji Bharij and Jonathan Somen settled for fifth and sixth respectively. Two-time former champion, Ian Duncan, returned top ten stage times on the day, but was lying in an unfamiliar 27th position.