NAIROBI, Kenya- Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) Formula 2 leader, Leonardo Varese, is delighted with coming out unscathed during the back breaking Multiple Hauliers 2017 Guru Nanak Rally over the weekend as he cemented his position at the top.
The SportPesa Rally Team driver and his trusted navigator, Kigondu Kareithi inched closer to sealing a fifth 2WD crown in a season that could see them scoop the double because they are sitting on top of the KNRC Division 2 standings as well.
Reflecting on the high-casualty rally that claimed big boys such as the main KNRC national champion, the ‘Flying Finn’ Tapio Laukkannen, Varese disclosed they opted for a tactical race rather than to go flat out in a bid to sustain the advantage.
Arch rival Sammy Nyorri (57) won the 2WD category at Guru Nanak but in bringing their Toyota Corolla RSI home for a third finish, Varese and Kareithi extended their tally at the top to 106, a yawning 51-point gap that installed the pair as champions-in-waiting.
“We are happy to get a podium finish in Guru Nanak, a special rally for us which is always a tough event and this year was no different.
“Only half the cars finished but we had a clear plan from the start. That was; to carry good points towards our fifth title which is closer than ever before,” the SportPesa Rally Team driver who lost 2:23:47 on Sunday revealed.
“We drove at a slower pace to make sure we got there at the end. It was a great event, well organised and good trophies,” Varese added.
Although Nyorri did not manage to dent the title ambitions of the leader, he was nonetheless delighted with his work on the day at the annual event held around Naivasha.
“I’m so happy for winning the 38th Guru Nanak Rally. All glory and honour to the Almighty God,” Nyorri (2:03:37), who was driving a Toyota Run X, proclaimed.
While giving a nod to their partners, ENEOS-Futures Energy, Moonwalk Investments and Auto Movers, Nyorri promised more of the same in the remaining rounds of the KNRC.
“We thank them for believing in us and we could not have done it without their support and to my navigator, great day! You pushed the stuck car up that hill,” he added in paying tribute to his pace notes reader, Mwangi Kioni.
Returning 2WD local star, Charles Hinga, moved up to third in the overall standings on 21 after finishing second navigated by Absalom Aswani in another Toyota Run X in a cumulative time of 2:21:51.
“It was a very technical rally. Shaking off rust after a five-year sabbatical is no joke but we had a good drive. However, we damaged the rear axle after a high speed off.
“That resulted in an unwelcome encounter with trees thereby breaking the windscreen as well as both left wheels. We lost one gear and had to nurse our car to the finish,” Hinga, a former 2WD national champion told.
“We got stuck after it rained in the last section. My navigator really pushed the car up two hills. Thank God for a strong man,” Hinga added.
In the Division 2 category, Varese leads on 102 ahead of Natasha Tundo (81) and Minesh Rathod (61) who round the top three.
It could yet be one of the most rewarding seasons for the SportPesa Rally Team with two national titles to celebrate at the end of the campain.
KNRC 2WD standings after Guru Nanak
- Leonardo Varese 106
- Sammy Nyorri 57
- Charles Hinga 21
KNRC Division 2 standings after Guru Nanak
- Leonardo Varese 102
- Natasha Tundo 81
- Minesh Rathod 60
- Eric Bengi 50