NAIROBI, July 30 – Heavy rains currently pounding Mogotio area of Nakuru will set the tone for this weekend’s KCB Western Union Rally.
Organisers have warned all participating drivers to brace themselves for a wet and muddy competition, with Clerk-of-Course, John Rose, saying the weather had rendered most of the route slippery.
Rose, who is the father of KCB Kenya National championship leader Lee Rose, said they would issue a bulletin in due course to clarify on whether the river crossing stretch at the Molo River would be omitted.
The clerk told drivers that there is an alternative passage should the route remain flooded.
“We had a route survey yesterday (Tuesday) and the river was passable. I don’t know what is going to happen in the next few days. But the conditions on the ground are quite wet. We have an alternative stretch should the river become flooded,” he assured.
The weather could force drivers to change tact and fit puncture-proof tyres to achieve the much needed traction on the gruelling circuit.
Rally ace Baldev Chager said the conditions would be challenging because drivers must resort to the right choice of tyres.
“We don’t have the mud compound tyres with us but I guess it will be a challenge to all drivers,” he said.
The event, the 4th round of the KCB Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC), will be flagged-off outside Nakuru’s KCB branch on Kenyatta Avenue at 7.30am.
With a cumulative total of 338km, the event heads to Mogotio where it runs entirely on two private farms at Alphega and Majani Mingi. After flag off, the rally takes a 40km liaison distance through to the closed circuit in Mogotio.
This route was last used during the World Rallying Championship (WRC) Safari Rally edition in 2001.
Four stages, namely Mogotio-Majani Mingi (19.6km), Lomolo-Mugurin (8.4km), Molo-River-Spectator (10.4km) and Hilltop-Alphega Factory (26.2km) would be repeated twice to make up a cumulative competitive total of 161km, with the service located at Alphega.
Meanwhile, Two Wheel Drive leader and rookie Charles Hinga believes he could wrap-up the drivers’ championship with some time to spare this season.
“We really have to seal it well in advance. The idea is to win one more rally and then go for podium positions till the end of the season,” Hinga said.
With last month’s 2008 KCB Safari Rally title under his belt, Hinga will become the first rookie driver to win the Kenya 2WD Championship should he wrestle the coveted title from CRS Motorsports’ Chana.
“Basically, the car is in perfect shape and we are all rearing to go. We get along well with (Evans) Mwenda in the cockpit and this should be a motivating factor.”
Hinga faces stiff opposition from the likes of Leamy Karienye, Leonardo Varese and Chana. Others are Ishpal Bilkhu, Gurmit Thethy and Daren Miranda.