NAIROBI, November 18 – Baldev Chager will have the Kenya National Rally Championship crown in his sights this Sunday when he leads 43 cars off the ramp at the KCB Guru Nanak rally.
Chager’s main rival for the title and Triton Petroleum teammate Lee Rose starts in second place in a Mitsubishi EVO 9 followed by Asad Anwar in a Subaru Impreza N11.
Last year’s champion Carl Tundo will be absent after failing to repair his vehicle in time after it rolled at the KCB Visa Card rally in Mombasa.
Chager who was second last season needs a top 14 finish to win the championship even if Rose wins the rally.
If Chager comes in 15th place and Rose wins the rally, both drivers will tie on 460 points and Rose will be awarded the championship by the ‘Cleanest Furthest’ rule for having won the most rallies.
Chager has won the Nanyuki and KCB Easy Pay Loan rallies and amassed 455 points in the process while Rose has bagged three victories including the KCB Safari Rally and has 380 points.
“This is one of the largest entries we have received this year and we expect it to be really tough and competitive,” said Kenya Motorsport general manger Achie Khan at the rally’s press briefing on Tuesday.
The 260 kilometre rally will centre around the East African Portland Cement quarry which will host the spectator stage and where the drivers will have to contend with the black cotton soil.
“So far the weather has not been too bad and we hope it remains this way because the East African Portland area is known to become very muddy when it rains so we hope the current weather holds and we have a good event,” said Khan.
All stages except for the Lukenya- Mathatani will be staged at the quarry which has threes stages that will be repeated twice while the Lukenya route will be done once constituting a competitive mileage of 130 kilometres.
Quentin Mitchell who missed the Mombasa rally hopes to end his rookie season in spectacular fashion.
“We’re really looking forward to this weekend and sad that the season is coming to an end,” said Mitchell.
“Over the long break between November and February we will look at the car, get it ready for next season and also plan at looking towards participation in the ARC (Africa Rally Championship),” he added.
Simon Tysoe from the United Kingdom has entered the rally with a Ford Escort and will be navigated by Rod Maclean.
In the two wheel drive category, Leonardo Varese just needs to finish the rally to be crowned this season’s champion.
Varese who drives a Volkswagen Golf GTI and is navigated by Kigondu Kareithi has tops the two wheel drive standings by 18 points.
The rally will be flagged off at the KCB Buruburu branch by Makadara MP Dick Wathika and will finish at the Simba Union Club on Forest Road, Parklands.