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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Chatthe in lead

Jaspreet Singh Chatthe and Gugu Panesar in Mitsubishi EVOX
Jaspreet Singh Chatthe and Gugu Panesar in Mitsubishi EVOX

Kisumu-based Jaspreet 'Jassi' Chatthe navigated by Gurdeep Panesar in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 10 took the overnight lead during the 65th edition of Safari Rally after leg one drama which culminated at Bufallo Mall Naivasha.

Chatthe who is going for his third straight Safari title went to bed with a paltry one second lead from Flying Finn Tapio Laukkanen in the day's last section at Aberdare Hills in Naivasha.

Chatthe who is the 2015 African champion flabbergasted everyone when he checked into the last section with a 38.40munites total.

Tapio cleared the day's four sections with a cumulative total of 38.41 minutes with Baldev Chager coming in third with 39.16.

Current KNRC leader Manvir Baryan drove his Skoda Fabia R5 machine to fourth place ahead of Carl Tundo who wrapped up his leg one campaign in fifth.

Manvir who is among the Kenyan rising stars was lying second after the Ngong section.

Chager, who was first on the road said: "Its a little bit rough and wet in Kedong and we are happy to be in contention. It was dry in the Abardares."

Tundo said: "Its dusty to the extreme as you see me"

Manvir said: We glazed over rough sections, but I am fine. I expect a podium finish tomorrow (today).

Duncan who last won the Safari in 1994 during the WRC days settled for 6th place. Duncan was the earlier pacesetter when he beat Tapio by a mere 1 second after the 2km CS1 Jamhuri Park super special which is incidentally the event's shortest section.

The 400km event which is one of the shortest in the history of the Safari culminates today at Afraha Stadium.

The technical finish will be at Albizia but the cars will head to Afraha in convoy for the ceremonial finish which will be graced by Nakuru County Governor Kinuthia Mbugua.

A total of 45 cars led by Baldy Chager started the 65th Safari from the KICC. The cars moved to the Jamhuri spectator stage where a large crowd enjoyed the drivers competing on a dual track.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario flagged off the cars from KICC where he reiterated Kenya's plans of returning to the WRC.

He said he will, alongside Kenya Motor Sports Federation chairman Phineas Kimathi, appear before Parliamentary Budget Committee on Monday to defend their proposal for the government to sponsor Kenya's Safari World Rally Championship bid.

Provisional Results

1. Jaspreet Jassi Chatthe/Gugu Panesar (Evolution 10) 38.40minutes

2. Tapio Laukkanen/Gavin Laurence (Subaru GVB) 38.41

3. Baldev Chager/Ravi Soni (Evolution 10) 39.16

4. Manvir Baryan/Drew Sturrock (Skoda Fabia) 39.23

5. Carl Tundo/Tim Jessop (Evolution 10) 39.44

6. Ian Duncan/Amaar slatch (Evolution 10) 40.10

7. Onkar Rai/Gareth Dawe (Skoda Fabia) 40.38

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