‘Deceiving’ map leads Chatthe away from 3rd Safari

By For Citizen Digital

W.Kepher navigated by S.Kalema cruises through spectators stage during the 65th African Rally ...
W.Kepher navigated by S.Kalema cruises through spectators stage during the 65th African Rally championship at Jamhuri Park spectators stage on March 17, 2017. Photo/Oliver Ananda/www.sportpicha.com

A host of drivers launched complaints over ‘deceiving directions’ in the post-race as the 65th Africa Rally Championship (ARC) Safari Rally came to a dramatic finish on Saturday.

Former African champion Jaspreet ‘Jassi’ Chatthe was among those who were docked a stinging 10 minutes for taking a short cut blasted the unclear marking on the event’s leg one road book as bid for a third Safari drifted beyond reach.

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Chatthe, who finished sixth, had taken a one-second overnight lead over eventual winner Tapio ‘Flying Finn’ Luakannen before suffering the setback azlong with seven other drivers that he claims ultimately cost him the title.

Manvir Baryan, fresh from winning the Mombasa Rally last month, who was seeded fourth suffered a similar fate taking 9/overall and third in Africa.

“We had a good run, we just came to know later that we had missed a corner. Not only me, but a couple of us missed it, because it wasn’t clear on the road book. Missing ten minutes is huge in this competition, and recovering that is just a whole lot of work,” Chatthe lamented.

Baryan, who was driving one of the super rally cars, a Skoda Fabia, echoed Chatthe’s sentiments.

His concerns have further been echoed by M.S Baryan who also received a 10-minutes penalty for missing the same turn, along with six others.

“It’s a bit unfortunate for us that we got the penalty for missing some turns in one of the stages yesterday. To be honest the corner was sort of deceiving and to us we knew we are on the right route. Surely it wasn’t clearly marked,” Baryan said.

Baryan added that his eyes were fixed on a podium finish, but took gratitude of managing to recover and finish in the top ten.

“We have at least finished at the top ten which is good. Its what it is, so we have to take it,” he added.

The drivers were punished for having defaulted  article 40.6 of the FIA regulations, which states that “for all rallies in the championship, live tracking, data recording and emergency signaling devices must be used to monitor position, movement and status of the competing cars at all times, failure to which one will be subjected to a 10 –minute penalty.”

Chatte finished sixth while Baldev Chager and Manvir Baryan finished seventh and eighth consecutively.

Tapio, navigated by Gavin Laurence in a Subaru GVB machine eclipsed six times former Kenyan champion Duncan by 22 seconds to lay his hands on the coveted title that has eluded him over the past three editions.

In the 2015 Safari, the Flying Finn led the pack by a massive five minutes and was well on course for his maiden win, but it slipped through his grasps due to a technical error on the remote service.

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