NAIROBI, November 19- Synonymous with ‘monster machines’, Ian Duncan navigated by Amaar Slatch in a Nissan Patrol will enjoy the privilege of being the first off the ramp in the season-ending 35th KCB Guru Nanak Rally which starts and ends in Naivasha on Sunday.
Duncan who has won the Guru Nanak a record 11 times will be gunning for an unprecedented 12th crown and has nothing to lose as the battle for the Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) has been narrowed down to a two horse race between defending holder and table-leader Baldev Chager and challenger Carl Tundo.
Jassi Chatthe from Kisumu, Azar Anwar, Chager, Tundo, Rajbir Rai and Alastair Cavenagh.
Cavenagh will zoom off the ramp in that order to complete the top-six starters on the day.
“Given that I have only entered three events this year and finished none, I will be hoping for a clean run and a finish. On the flip side, the Proton has not been very kind to me and I am hoping for better fortune,” Cavenagh, the revered speed merchant declared.
After losing a major sponsor earlier in the season, Duncan has tackled selected events in the season and is optimistic of performing well on the volcanic ash soil stage.
Duncan’s maiden win in the Guru Nanak was in 1986 with his namesake Ian Munro in an Opel Manta 400 and repeated the feat for the next three editions (1987, 1988 and 1989). In 1995, He won it for the fifth time with Dave Williamson in a Toyota Celica Turbo.
Duncan then added another four wins to the event’s roll of honour to make it nine with Salim Haji after prevailing in a Toyota Land Cruiser pickup in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003.
The 1994 WRC Safari Rally winner laid claim to his 10th and 11th Guru Nanak victories in 2006 and 2007 co-driven by Amaar Slatch in a Toyota Hilux pick-up.
Focus in Naivasha will be on the final sprint for the 2014 honours where Chager needs a podium finish to defend his crown in case Tundo wins in the main KNRC competition.
Leonardo Varese, who requires only a point to wrap up the glory is going for his third career title in 2WD category and as precaution, has stated his intent to go easy on the pedal with his main rival Dennis Mwenda requiring an outright win to retain slim hopes.
The KNRC Division Two class pits leader Alasdair Keith up against Mahesh Halai. Tejveer Rai ranked third has an outside chance.
Karan Patel will be attempting a rare double in his first year of competition with sights on the Division 3 and S Class top honours where he is going in as the leader in both.
Zane Young, 20, he will be making his national rallying debut when he joins former co-driver turned driver Geoff Mayes in a “Hands off our Elephants” Toyota Levin.
Former Ugandan champion Jas Mangat navigated by compatriot Gihan De Silva in a Mitsubishi Lancer EVOX are among five foreigners enlisted for the 35th KCB Guru Nanak Rally slated for Naivasha this Sunday.
Mangat is returning to the Kenya National Rally Championship after retiring in September’s KCB Safari Rally in Nanyuki.
Other foreigners are Hardev Singh Sira from Britain in a Ford Escort Mexico.
Sira is no stranger to Kenya having previously lived in Eldoret and competed in the 2013 KNRC Classic class as a leading contender.
Sira will be navigated by Gurdeep Singh Mehangra “Dipps” in a Ford Escort Mexico.
Drew Sturrock from Britain will be navigating Kenya’s Manvir Baryan.
In the meantime, Zimbabwean navigator Gareth Dawe is in town ready to navigate Onkar Singh Rai of Kenya. Dawe finished second overall in the 2014 FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) behind Romain Comas of Ivory Coast.
The Zim navigated Zambia’s Essa Mohammed in the continental series which folded its curtains in Antananarivo, Madagascar recently.
Fifty drivers are expected to participate in the Sikh Union organized event which was first held in 1973 with the late Vic Preston Senior and Bill Parkinson in a Mercedes Benz 250 the winners.