Three Subarus on podium!
It has been 7 long years.
Finally the Subaru VAB makes a mark as the too hot to handle Tufail loses a close win. With Africa already with a new champion, the Tanzanian round for the first in years saw no foreign entry. So from the word go it was going to be a Tanzanian winner, except of course if no one finished. The roll coaster started on Fri with the new format of a qualifying stage. One of the quickest drivers in Tanzania despite his body mass, Randeep Birdi a driver I have seen take on board his dad’s Range Rover and later moving in a Mitsubishi was the man of the day. Posting 5 sec faster than the Japanese five star marquee(Subaru) sponsored by Puma-Toyota,Dharam pandya another youngster I have seen grow from a PA10 that flew over my head on a jump in morogoro about 15 years ago. In rallying everyday is another story. Birdi went on to win another three stages on day 2 . That was as far as he could go.
The end of Day 2 saw the rally turned on its head as a vintage GC8 of Tufail another young man who cut into the grass where I was standing in 2010 driving a car my dad used to take us to the village and grandma loading plenty of foodstuffs in the bonnet which happens to be its boot! Vw Bettle.Tofail grabbed the lead with lots of effort making a name for himself as the beater of a much superior Subaru VAB by a hanging 50 sec which he increased by 18 at the start of day 3. The story was just building up to the climax. To fail enormous attack level was soon to take toll as the turbo cracked. Now Dharam who had been in a tactical wait showed his love for the centre at the podium. If you saw Dharam ‘s lines on the final day, you were to be assured you were seeing a champion in making becoming the third Tanzanian to win this rally that has been running since 2001.
The others being that old fellow , Gerald Miller in 2015 and Randeep Birdi the following year b4 the advent of the lethal Skoda Fabia. I was amazed by the pace of MUSA Tharia who has been away from racing for uncountable years but he melted away as he had suddenly reappeared. The talk of the town had another focus. Driving his second rally Shez Munge in a Mitsubishi evo9 looked more of a master than an a complete novice. He was rewarded with 3rd at end of day 2 However attrition takes no prisoners and he fell by the wayside as 50% of the entrants suffered a similar fate. What a rally what a pace and what an effort by Dharam whose father tells he must do at least 100km a week of bicycle ridding and Dharam confirms it is not just being on the bike but real competition in under 2 and half hours.I was also happy for Mbatta finishing. I wish next time he brings the chicken(kuku) also since we have seen the pace of the duck(Mbatta). This event in 2012 made history, zambiaz essa mohammed won it in a Subaru n12 while second went to Dharam pandya in a Gc8 followed by his father Kirit pandya driving another Gc8.!