NAIROBI, Kenya, March 20 – Rwanda will host a round of this year’s Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) East African Rally Challenge that starts next month with the KCB Safari Rally.Sixty six drivers have so far confirmed their participation in the series which will also feature the KCB Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally.
“Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa have each sent in one entry. Rwanda and Uganda have submitted two and three entries respectively while the rest are from Kenya,” said Kenya Motorsport Federation chairman Maina Muturi.
Present at the launch were the Rwanda Automobile Club chairman Dismas Kayibanda and the President of the Federation of Motorsports Club of Uganda David Bitalo as well as representatives from Ugandan High Commission and the Rwanda Embassy.
Reigning KCB Kenya National rally champion Baldev Chager will open his title defence at the Safari Rally after missing out on the Biashara Banking Rally due to lack of a sponsor.
“We’ve lost points after missing the first event which makes it difficult for us to catch up with the other leading drivers,” said Chager who was speaking to Capital Sport.
“The pace definitely has to go up. We’ve tied down a good sponsorship which we’re happy with. Things are definitely looking up and we’re looking to go flat out for the rest of the season,” added Chager who is now sponsored by Oil Libya.
Chager said that his Subaru Impreza N12 is currently undergoing intensive preparations for the grueling season ahead.
“The car is being fully stripped and rebuilt for the season. We are putting in new parts just for safety and security and to make it reliable as it was last season. So preparation is of utmost importance at the moment,” said Chager.
Last season championship runner up and defending Safari Rally champion Lee Rose will also be making his comeback in a Mitsubishi EVO 9 after missing out on the first rally of the season.
Zimbabwean Jamie Whyte who is being navigated by Phil Archenoul will be first off the ramp at the Safari rally which will take place on April 5.
Whyte returns to Nairobi leading the FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) series with 10 points.
Kenya’s challenge will be spearheaded by current championship leader Carl Tundo who will start the race in fourth place in a Mitsubishi EVO 9.
Charles Hinga will be at the front of the two wheel drive category while defending champion Leonardo Varese starts in fourth place.