•The seventh round of the series culminated at the ASK Showground in Meru but not without drama
•Manvir was airlifted to Nairobi for further check-up and was adjudged safe by doctors at Aga Khan University Hospital.
Following a muddy experience on the high-altitude Meru terrain, the KCB Kenya National Rally Championship 2019 has been reduced to a two-horse race between perennial rivals Baldev Singh Chager and Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo.
Third overall in the Rallye Sports Club (RSC)-organised round saw Chager extend the lead in his quest for a fifth career KNRC title.
All the ‘Flying Singh’ needs to do should Tundo claim the remaining two rounds in Eldoret and Guru Nanak is to finish fourth on both occasions.
The seventh round of the series culminated at the ASK Showground in Meru but not without drama. Carl picked up a puncture in the opening stage while Chager went off and lost the second position to the former.
“It’s been a very different rally. We did extremely well in every single stage but in the spectator stage, we got distracted by a police car which was stuck by the side and lost lots of time. In the last stage, we lost power steering. I’m still leading the championship and that’s obviously the main focus. We have two more events to go, so let’s see how it goes,” said Chager.
Tundo on his part said: “We got a puncture in the first section which cost us lots of time and dropped us down to 16th. But then in the spectator stage, we managed to get through without getting stuck. We hit the same stone that Manvir Baryan rolled on and broke the oil pump. We then ended up in the second position. We are happy about that. We are still in the Championship hunt with two events to go.”
Winner Onkar remarked: “We were cautious due to the conditions of the road. Towards the end, we made a massive push to maintain the lead as Boldy and Flash were coming for us. It’s now up to Chager and Flash, whoever wins the Championship. We hope to give them a run for their money next season.”
The top three KNRC positions remained unchanged with Chager clinging onto the summit ahead of second-placed Flash Tundo and Manvir in third. Sadly, Manvir’s high-speed roll in his Skoda saw his championship campaign go up in smoke. It was a bitter pill to swallow for the three-time reigning African Champion who was chasing Jaspreet Chatthe’s unprecedented double of winning the ARC and KNRC in 2015.
Manvir was airlifted to Nairobi for further check-up and was adjudged safe by doctors at Aga Khan University Hospital. “Manvir and I have had a big high-speed accident on stage 4. I am okay but Manvir has been taken for check-ups” said Manvir’s navigator Drew Sturrock after the fourth stage incident.
Onkar, who took over the lead from teammate Chager, going into the first service moved from eighth to the fifth spot on the log following emphatic victory on KCB Meru Rally. This was Onkar’s first finish in his VW Polo R5 supercar after two failed attempts in Kilifi and Nanyuki.
Onkar upgraded from Skoda Fabia R5 to VW Polo R5 during KCB Kilifi Rally, where his spirited campaigns on both occasions came a cropper. After winning the season opener in Nakuru where he sealed an unprecedented hat-trick, Onkar has suffered excruciating retirement in Safari, Mombasa and Nanyuki. Safari was his last event in the Skoda Fabia R5.