KCB Kitengela Rally, the penultimate round of the 2016 Kenya National Rally Championship, has attracted a star- studded entry that includes youngsters Manvir Baryan and Karan Patel who crashed out in WRC Rally Catalunya of Spain.
Defending KNRC champion Jaspreet “Jassi” Chatthe has signed up for the event hoping to revive his title hopes against “Flying Finn” Tapio Laukkanen who only needs to finish second overall to become the first ever foreign KNRC champion. Tapio has for the last two seasons raced on a Kenyan competition licence ,and as such, eligible for the coveted title.
There are also over 10 entries in group N (for homologated cars) including leader Ian Duncan in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 10, Farhaaz Khan in an Evolution 9 and Karan in an Evolution 10.
Karan is making a return to the KNRC front at penultimate stage after tackling five Europe-based rounds of the World Rally Championship. The former 85cc East African motocross champion scored points towards the Drive D-Mack Fiesta Trophy (DDFT) as well as savouring a taste of asphalt and gravel stages in rallies of Poland, Germany, Catalunya Spain, Finland and Portugal.
In an interview, Karan had this to say about his return to the local Championship which he has previously enjoyed top 5 positions.
“How awesome would it be if Kenya had some tarmac stages incorporated into our national rallying? I’m thinking that it would be ideal for us to have tarmac rally stages on select closed public roads which will call for tarmac specification dampers, springs, brake discs and pads and wheels and tyres.
That’s what you need to change from a gravel specification to tarmac and approximately, it would take one and a half hours to do so,” said Karan.
Karan also added that he is itching to rev his Evolution 10 car (“Phoebe”) this weekend.
“After spinning a Ford in the WRC, I can’t wait to get back into my beautiful beast of a machine (Evo). It was amazing racing in the WRC. We didn’t quite make it to the finish in Spain because I crashed the car in the second last stage of the rally but for the stages we did and completed, we gained invaluable experience.. So we didn’t finish on paper but in my mind I have accomplished something great given that I’m new to the car and the rallies and I feel I am walking away knowing that I am a better driver,” Karan who is a the 2014 KNRC Division 3 and Group S Champion said.
In the star-studded list, Duncan is the only driver amongst the top 7 still running a Group N car as most top teams have since upgraded to R4 and R5 machines.
Tapio has indeed swept the ground with all his opponents in his traditional Subaru R4, with youngsters Rajbir Rai and Manvir both gaining considerable pace in their Ford Fiesta R5 super cars.
Kabras Sugar Racing trio of multiple champion Baldev Chager, Onkar Rai and Tejveer Rai will be running their hi-tech R4 Evolution 10s, same as Chatthe.
Although focus will be centred more on the high-flying speed merchants, lower categories of KNRC are sure to also offer spectators some hair-raising thrills on Kajiado’s black cotton soil.
The 2WD category has attracted four entries, including champion Leonardo Varese, rising star Alex Lairang’i, leader Eric Bengi and Sammy Nyorri.
Kisumu’s Chandrakhant Devji Chabhaddia aka “Chandu” hopes to resume his hunt for the Group ‘S title at the wheel of a Subaru Impreza GC8.
Chandu leads the ‘S class which is a preserve of cars with expired homologation.
There’s a fabulous fight in prospect in Division 1 with runaway leader Onkar Rai taking his fight to the likes of Farhaaz Khan and Asad Khan “Kalulu”.
The Classic Car Class has Dr. Rajvinder Jutley in a Ford Escort MK2 and Ramesh Vishram navigated by Riyaz Ismail in a similar car make.
KNRC Division 2 leader Mahesh Halai will be up against Eric Bengi in what has become a two-horse race.
The Rally will be flagged-off at KCB Kitengela Branch on Sunday morning preceded by recconaissance on Friday and scrutineering at Sikh Union Club on Saturday.
Three stages running exclusively in Kajiado County will be repeated twice for a competitive mileage of approximately 140km. The 2016 KNRC- cosponsored by Toyota Kenya, Red Bull and Liquid Telecom- has been to Kajiado, Wundanyi, Elementaita, Kisumu, Eldoret, Nanyuki, and back in Kajiado.
The eight and final leg, which is the prestigious Guru Nanak Rally, is slated for late November in Naivasha.
ENTRY LIST-KCB KITENGELA RALLY 2016
1. Carl Tundo/Tim Jessop (Ford Fiesta Proto-MENENGAI OIL)
2. Rajbir Rai/Tim Challen (Ford Fiesta R5-RAI RACING)
3. Tapio Laukkanen/Pasi Torma (Subaru Impreza R4-MULTIPLE RACING)
4. Baldev Chager/Ravi Soni (Mitsubishi Evolution10-KABRAS SUGAR RACING)
5. Jasi Chatthe/Gugu Panesar (Mitsubishi Evolution 10-Team KIBOS)
6. Ian Duncan/Amaar Slatch (Mitsubishi Evolution 10-LIQUID TELECOM)
7. Manvir Baryan/Drew Sturrock (Ford Fiesta R5- MULTIPLE RACING)
8. Karan Patel/TBA (Mitsubishi Evolution 10-FILMICO RACING)
9. Onkar Rai/Kavit Dave (Mitsubishi Evolution10-KABRAS SUGAR RACING)
10. Tejveer Rai/Zahir Shah (Mitsubishi Evolution10-KABRAS SUGAR RACING)
11. Piero Cannobio/Silvia Frigo (Mitsubishi Evolution10-KILIFI COMPLEX)
12. Izhar Mirza/Kavit Dave (Mitsubishi Evolution9-COAST PEKEE)
13. Jasmeet Chana/Ravi Chana (Mitsubishi Evolution10-CRS RACING)
14. Amaanraj Rai/Tauseef Khan (Mitsubishi Evolution10-RAI RACING)
15. Imran Mogul/Adnan Din (Subaru N12-LOTA MOTORSPORTS)
16. Farhaaz Khan/Keith Henrie (Mitsubishi Evolution9-OILIBYA RACING)
17. Dennis Mwenda/Job Njiru ((Mitsubishi Evolution9-SILVERSPREAD RACING)
18. Stephen Mwamgi/Jonathan Kosgey (Subariu N10-ANDY RALLY TEAM)
19. Asad Khan/Harshil Limbani (Subaru GC8-TAMS RACING)
20. Mahesh Halai/Paren Hirani (Subaru N12- SHAMBA BOYZ MOTORSPORTS)
21. John Nganga/Edward Njoroge (Subaru N10-JUNGLE RACING)
22. Eric Bengi/Tuta Mionki (Toyota RunX-MENENGAI CREAM)
23. Taiti Wachira/TBA
24. Aakif Virani/Azhar Bhatti (Subaru N16-ARROW RACING TEAM)
25. Natasha Tundo/Chantal Young (Subaru N10-HAI RALLY CHIX)
26. Sammy Nyorri/Mwangi Kioni (Toyota RunX)
27. Leonardo Varese/Kigo Kareithi (Toyota Corolla RSI-SPORTPESA RALLY TEAM)
28. Alex Lairang’i/Tony Gichohi (Toyota Sprinter GT-TEAM KUBWA)
29. Edward Maina/John Ngugi (Subaru GC8-EMKA RALLY TEAM)
30. OSman Abdullahi/George Mwangi (Subaru N10-LOGITAC RALLY TEAM)
31. Ramesh Vishram/Riyaz Ismail (Ford Escort MK2-CEMENTERS RACING TEAM)
32. Sam Karangatha/Edward Ndukui (Subaru Leon-XTREME RACING)
33. Daren Miranda/Wayne Fernardes (Subaru-TAMS RACING)
34. Rajvinder Jutley/Ranjeet Sehmi (Ford Escort MK2)