Austrian Kris Rosenberger burst into the lead of the East African Safari Classic Rally on Sunday as the competition enters its first rest day on Monday.
Previous leader Kenyan Onkar Rai, in a Porsche 911, slowed down in Sunday’s SS12 stage due to a mechanical problem, allowing the speeding Austrian, in a similar make of car, to take full advantage.
Onkar dropped down to fifth place. Swede Stig Blomqvist was placed second at end of the day’s action in a Porsche with Onkar’s brother Tajveer, keeping Kenya’s flag flying in position three driving the hardy Porsche.
Hong Kong’s Philip Kadoorie, navigated by Ryan Champion of Great Britain, in Porsche was lying fourth.
Monday service crews get the chance to work on their rally cars at the Tanga Service Point in Tanzania after four days of the hard competition.
A maximum of six hours will be allowed for servicing the cars.
Though all parts are serviceable or replaceable, drivers will face extra penalty if one has to replace a complete engine.
The event is now at the halfway stage having covered 1,656km of competitive racing.
Unlike Day Three which was cancelled following heavy rains action on Day Four went well without any hitches.
Early leader, Baldev Chager of Kenya, who is harbouring hopes of winning his first ever Safari Classic Rally, failed to tackle the last two stages of yesterday’s competition.
His Porsche suffered torsion bar problems that forced him to drive straight to Tanga. So far he has missed three competitive stages.
His navigator Ravi Soni could only reflect on their bad luck: “We have to understand that we can’t control the weather though we know all the officials are doing a good job. But for me and Baldy, not starting a stage really pushed us back. Every stage cancelled is detrimental to us because the more mileage we have the more chance we have to make the time,’’ said Soni.