Kenya: Sweden's Blomqvist Takes Classic Rally Lead

4 December 2019

Former East African Safari Classic Rally champion Stiq Blomqvist of Sweden has now taken the lead in a Porsche.

Kris Rosenberger of Austria dropped to second place in a similar car. However, the Austrian is a mere 55 seconds behind Blomqvist with six stages remaining.

The penultimate day of the rally will be flagged off Thursday morning at 8am from the Wild Life Lodge at Taita Hills. Drivers are now heading towards the Whitesands Hotel in Mombasa for the final day two days of the competition.

Competitors tackled tough stages both the Kenyan and Tanzanian regions. Some of the Tanzanian sections proved tough as one complete day and part of one stage had to be cancelled due to heavy rains.

For the first time in the history of the marathon event, local drivers are outnumbered by foreign competitors. There are only five locals among the list of 17 survivors of the rally.

The five are Onkar Rai, Tejvir Rai, Aslam Khan, Ian Duncan and Baldev Chager, respectively. They seriously look out of contention unless something miraculous happens in the two days.

Chager is now trailing the leader by almost 303 minutes while Onkar Rai is 30 minutes behind though closer to the victory depending on his luck.

Duncan, who has previously won the competition twice, is struggling with his Rover Vitesse experiencing mechanical problems. He failed to tackle the last two stages on Wednesday and instead drove straight to Wild Life Lodge to carry out urgent repair work on the car engine. He is now almost 213 minutes behind the leader.

Day Eight action will pass through Sagal/Kirumbi (39.61 kilometres), Estate/Kileva (58.30kms) and Maungu/MC (75.52kms) before cars get back to Whitesands Hotel for a night of rest.

Besides Safaricom, Vivo Energy Kenya and Aviation Gas (Avgas) brands are the official sponsors of the rally.

Other co-sponsors of the event are Whitesands Hotel, Bidco Africa and DT Dobie.

The start order on daily basis is based on the overall standings of the previous day though a driver may be seeded higher depending on his overall performance. A driver may have dropped down the order because of mechanical issues.

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