Challenging regular WRC drivers won’t be easy, says Chager
As the World Rally Championship action returns to Kenya this year, veteran driver Baldev Chager expects tough competition from the regular WRC drivers who he says cannot compare with the local stars.
After 19 years of waiting, Kenya will host a WRC leg with Chager who was still in the competition in 1998 when the last fiesta was staged in the country expected to feature.
While he considers the return of the exciting competition to Kenya as a fresh breath to the sport locally, the multiple national champion says local fans should manage their expectations on the homegrown drivers.
“You have to remember that WRC drivers have a lot of experience from the whole world, from racing in the desert to Argentina – to Europe and to rough gravel in Greece, so they are not very far behind what they will find on our roads here,” said Chager.
A major gap that could be a setback for Kenyan drivers in the race is the quality of machines used by the foreign elite drivers, according to Charger.
“To be quite honest there is no local person who would make a dent to the WRC drivers who are going to come. The machines are fast superior, they are experienced, the backup is phenomenal so we are a small drop in the ocean compared to the WRC class,” he added.
In 1998, Chager was among the Kenyan drivers such as Carl Flash Tundo and Ian Duncan who competed in the WRC locally, finishing 15 with his co-driver Timmo Khan.
Notably, Marco Brighetti and his co-driver Abdul Sidi made the top-10 cutline at 9th in their Subaru Imprezza 555, as Ricahrd Burns and Robert Reid of Britain in their Mistubishi Carisma GT Ivo IV stormed to victory.
Several rounds of the World Rally Championship were canceled last year due to a global lockdown following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Just three rounds had been held in Monte Carlo, Sweden and Mexico before the virus struck, delaying Kenya’s turn that was set for July 2020. July 24-27 this year was set as the fresh date for Kenya’s round, which will be the fifth round after Monte Carlo, Croatia, Portugal and Italy respectively.
Estonia, Finland, Chile, UK, Spain will follow in that order, with Japan hosting the last one in November.