Drivers and navigators have destiny in their own hands with excitement already in the air for the 35th running of the KCB Guru Nanak Rally.
Sunday’s showdown at the Great Rift Valley will not only be a test of nerves and skills but also to determine the king of domestic rallying at the end of the eight-leg series traversed Nanyuki twice and once each in Malindi, Machakos, Kiambu, Eldama Ravine and Kisumu.
To spice up the occasion will be a legion of foreign drivers and navigators in the strong entry of 50 that will race their machines to crown another riveting campaign.
Enterprising Kenyan youngster Manvir Singh Baryan will partner up with Drew Sturrock from UK in a Subaru Impreza GVB13
Uganda’s 2013 champion Jas Mangat who will be navigated by compatriot Gihan De Silva in a Mitsubishi Evolution 10 is expected to offer stiff challenge to the locals in the event organized by Sikh Union Nairobi.
Zimbabwean leading African Rally Championship navigator Gareth Dawe will call the pace-notes for Onkar Rai.
After skipping some rounds this season, Ian Duncan shall be making a welcome comeback and his fans are more than enthusiastic to witness his fast and furious antics in one of his crowd-pulling monster attractions.
Duncan’s choice ride this season has been a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 9 but the six-time former Kenya rally champion has opted for a change in a Nissan Patrol which is one of the massive machines he has used as crowd-pleasers in previous Guru Nanak editions.
He has racked-up an unprecedented 11 Guru Nanak wins and is vouching to become the ‘guru’ for the dozen time.
Duncan will, however, be hard-pressed to vanquish Kabras Sugar Racing’s Baldev Chager and Menengai Oil’s speed merchant Carl “Flash” Tundo who are going head to head for the coveted KNRC title.
There are interesting statistics in that should Tundo win the Guru Nanak, then leader and defending champion Chager would be required to wind up on the podium to retain the title he first won in 2008.
It was the penultimate KCB Kisumu Rally that narrowed down the main KNRC category to a two-horse race but the title-chasing pair takes on a hound of potential spoilers in Naivasha who could well alter the arithmetic.
KNRC Division three is also a ‘two-way traffic’ between Mahesh Halal and Alasdair Keith though it will be suicidal to underestimate fast rising Kabras team’s Tajvir Rai who has an outside chance should the two falter.
Also worth watching is 23 year old new kid on the block Karan Patel “KP” who is on the driving seat in KNRC Division 3 and S Class. Karan will be driving a Subaru GC8 that Chager used in winning the 2004 edition of the Guru Nanak.
The classic category is also envisaged to be a battle of wits with the usual suspects being leader Jonathan Somen (Ford Escort MK2), Hardev Sira (Ford Escort Mexico) of UK, Aslam Khan (Porsche Carrera 911), Ranjeet Sehmi also in a Ford Escort, 1996 Guru Nanak winner Rob Hellier (Datsun 160J) and Rommy Bamrah who is back in the fray from sabbatical.
Action galore in the category is in the offing in the next couple of months especially given that drivers will be gearing up for the biannual East African Safari Classic Rally in 2015.
There will be more to drive for in the S Class which incorporates such names like Alykhan Malik in a Subaru Legacy, Chandrakant Devji Chabhadhia “Chandu” in a Subaru GC8, National Oil’s Hussein Malik in a Mitsubishi Evolution 6 and Murage Waigwa of Bobo Rally team who will be steering a Subaru GC8.
The rally will be flagged off at 7.00am on Sunday by Nakuru Governor Kinuthia Mbugua with cars tackling closed private farm stages in the expansive Soysambu Conservancy, Delamere Farm and Sleeping Warrior near Kikopey.