Suhail wins first career Safari as event marks Diamond Jubilee
It was a dream come true for Adnan Suhail and Absalom Aswani as they racked up their maiden Formula Two Safari Rally diadem, incidentally on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee. Driving the ex-Martin Gitata championship Daihatsu hybrid car, Adnan and his partner acknowledged their best career title and promised better displays. “It’s really a momentous occasion for us. Adnan drove really well,” said Aswani.
Defending 2WD champion James Kirimi finished second as Ugandan Jagjit Liddar was third overall. Jagjit was the winner of 59th Safari Rally in 2011. Only 12 out of 17 drivers finished the two wheel drive. Nadeem Kana of Mombasa consolidated his 2WD championship lead despite finishing seventh. “The rally was good. We enjoyed it but coming into CS2 we caught up with Gideon (Kimani) and lost quite some time in the section. In CS3 we also caught up with a rally car and ended up losing time. Nonetheless, the 87km was too tough with rocks and tree logs lying on the route. We had a tyre burst and drove for 3km before fixing it and ended up 7th,” said Nadeem Kana.
Two-time champion Leo Varese managed 6th place. “We had a terrible start to the Safari. We broke the brake disk and bent the arm. At the super special stage, we took a penalty of 1min 30secs, then on Day 2 my fuel pump failed and so we lost more time. Lying 10th in the morning, we finally had a decent run today (Sunday) and managed 6th ahead of Kana and (Patrick) Kibara on the positive side,” explained Leo.
Gurmit Thethy was 7th and said: “It was a brilliant event, quite unfortunate that we lost intercom in the first stage yesterday (Saturday) and then third gear in the next stage which made us quite slow. However we were able to pull back some time today and if there was another stage available, we would have finished on the podium,” said Gurmit. Casualties in 2WD were the Haraka Mamas duo of Joan Nesbitt and Tamara Jones; Dennis Mwenda, Gideon Kimani, Ugandan Fred Wampamba and David Kioni.