Kenya’s Onkar Rai and Drew Sturrock overcame the dramatic day two to secure a top ten spot in the overall standings of the WRC Safari Rally.
In his VW Polo GTI R5, Rai registered an early lead in the WRC3 with 2 minutes and 55.1 seconds advantage over Polish driver Daniel Chwist. Kenyan’s Karan Patel is in third at the end of Friday’s leg.
Onkar is also the top placed African in seventh place in the overall classification.
The Safari Rally is on it’s return to the continent for the fist time in close to two decades.
“I never imagined I would be in the top ten of a WRC rally. Obviously, we want to go to the end but there’s still a long way to go,” he said.
Onkar endured a grueling day two of the Safari rally that has indeed lived up to its historic tagline as the most treacherous rally ever on the world championship series.
“It was almost undrivable once the big cars got through. And also the rocks, I think we bent something but at the end of the day, it’s Safari and it happened to everyone. I can’t complain,” admits Onkar.
Rai’s shine has however been overshadowed by events in stage three in which his brother, Tevjeer Rai suffered a huge crash.
Tejveer was airlifted to hospital in the capital Nairobi.
“It was a massive blow for me after my brother had a bad accident. It was hard for me to concentrate but we managed and hopefully made it for him,” he said.
Tejveer was however not the only casualty.
The WRC class drivers; Elfyn Evans, Dani Sordo, Oliver Solberg, and Kalle Rovanpera also retired but will return under the super rally rule.
Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville survived the day’s drama to take lead of the rally by 18 minutes and 8seconds over the impressive Takamoto Katsuta driving a Toyota. Hyundai’s Ott Tanak finished the day in third.
The third leg will have the crews tackle six stages.