Eldoret, Kenya, April 21 – The “gods of the valley” finally answered Azar Anwar’s prayers as the three-time former National Champion savored victory in the action-packed KCB SME Banking Rally. Azar beat Ian Duncan by a mere 17 second to pull through following a steady run in the high altitude region.
Nairobi’s Adnan Suhail (Daihatsu Hybrid) also ended months of mechanical gremlins claiming the 2WD scalp by a huge 2.59 minutes margin from Kisumu based newcomer Niaz Bashir.
Azar of Oilibya Racing Team was all smiles upon driving his Evolution 8 car to the Cheptiret Primary School service prior to the ceremonial finish at the KCB Uganda Road Branch.
At 56, Azar ended five years of jinx and frustration in Eldoret, incidentally, the same KNRC event he last won in 2006.Eldoret, which has been known to produce surprises, saw Baldev Chager, defending champion Alastair Cavenagh and Carl Tundo fall by the wayside.
Chager suffered turbo problems in the early morning run while Alastair had his run stymied when his navigator Gavin Laurence got sick in the car.
Tundo went out with turbo problems. With Chager, Baldev and Cavenagh gone, Duncan was well on course for a second successive win but his lead was short-lived with an excruciating puncture on the first run of the rough 35KM Chebulbul-FF Uhuru Stage.As at CS6, Horsey was leading the Western Kenya Motor Club (WKMC) event with a minute ahead of Azar until a puncture dipped him to third overall.
Onkar Rai posted his career best fourth in his Eldoret home turf.The competitive stages tackled around Kaptagat Forest, Kapangetich and Flax areas proved quite unforgiving to the big bulls who kept abreast of subsequent proceedings crestfallen.
Punctures also proved quite a menace to teams with Horsey lost his lead to Azar on the rough CS7 Chebulbul stage.Horsey unveiled his state-of-the-art Evolution 10 machine, the only one of its own in the region, sounding quite febrile of the 2011 season campaign.
“The car is step further than the EVO9s and I am hoping to win the championship this season before the big boys win,” said Horsey.
Azar staunchly admitted he wasn’t really aggressive in a strategy to avoid punctures.
“We were going steadily to avoid punctures because almost everybody was experiencing problems,” said Azar. This was Azar’s third win in Eldoret after winning it in 1989, 2006 and this year.
Duncan now leads the KNRC series with 190 points.
The 2WD class was won by Adnan Soheil with Nazim Bashir and Naveed Khalia clinching the 2nd and 3rd sports respectively.
Up next is the Safarai Rally slated for the 18th to the 19th of June.
Azar Anwar/Julius Ngige (EVO8) 1h22m04s
2. Ian Duncan/A SLatch (EVO9) 1h22m21s
3. Alex Horsey/Frank Gitau (EVO10) 1h25m33s
4. Onkar Rai/Andrew Doig (Subaru N12) 1h27m50s
5. Tejvir Rai/Bharat Pattni (Subaru) 1h28m29s
6. Jaswinder Chana/Ravi Chana (Toyota Celica GT4) 1h29m23s
7. Jas Mangat (Subaru N10) 1h30m04s
8. Sandeep Jandu/Gurdeep Mehangra (Subaru) 1h30m10s
9. Stefano Rocca/Franco Donadel (Datsun 260Z) 1h30m16s
10. Anwar Pandya/Ken Masoni (Subaru N10) 1h31m36s
11. Charles Hinga/Norris Ongalo (EVO8) 1h32m33s
12. Khuram Bhutt/Salim Khan (Subaru N10) 1h33m31s
13. Dr Ahmed Ashraf/Daniel Ayebare 1h36m22s
14. Simon Tysoe/Imran Khan (Ford Escort) 1h36m53s
15. Aslam Khan/Asad Khan (Ford Escort) 1h38m45s
16. Issa Amwari/Job Njiru (Subaru) 1h43m22s
17. Jasmeet Chana/G Njoroge (Toyota Celica GT4) 1h43m35s
18. Sudesh Hirani/Mutuma Marimba (Subaru Legacy) 1h46m50s
19. Jitendra Dhokia/Gurdeep Panesar (Subaru N10) 1h48m28s
20. Khalid Umar/Shakil Umar (Subaru) 1h50m00s
1. Adnan Suhail/Absalom Aswani (Daihatsu) 1.02.542.
2. Niaz Bashir/J Kosgey (Toyota Levin ) 1.05.533.
3. Naveed Khalid/Riyaz (Toyota Levin) 1.06.594.
4. James Kirimi/KImeli Korir (VW Golf) 1.09.365.
5. Nadeem Kana/James Mwangi (VW Golf) 1.10.396.
6. Joan Nesbit/Dr Tamara K Jones (Toyota Celest) 1.12.257.
7. Imran Kana/Mohammed S Mohammed (Toyota L) 1.12.39