MACHAKOS, August 8- Flying Finn Tapio Laukkanen completed a commanding start to chequered flag victory for his third Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) win of the season in Machakos on Saturday.
The KCB Machakos Rally came to a spectator-filled conclusion at the People’s Park with Laukkanen and Pasi Toma led their Subaru Impreza GVB13 to the finish ramp ahead of the competition after a day he drove like a man possessed at the Rallye Sports Club-organised event that unfolded around Machakos, Konza and Kapiti Plains.
Tapio, who is tackling the full KNRC season this year, added the Machakos triumph to his successes in the opening round in Kisumu and last round Eldoret.
“There is no secret to winning rallies. I am just enjoying myself with good support from my service crew which was able change the gearbox in less than 20 minutes after I was forced to use only four and five of transmission in one stage.
“Transmission had given up but we survived to win the rally. It is good feeling.”
Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo led the challengers’ home in second at the wheel of an ex-Tajveer Rai Mitsubishi Evolution X on his first outing with the car.
With Tapio proving he is a class above the best Kenya has to offer, Chager and Tundo were left to battle for second with the latter managing to edge out the national champion but only just.
‘Baldy’ lost out to Tundo by a mere nine seconds after spinning off in the last stage with Safari Rally winner Jaspreet Singh Chatthe in a Mitsubishi Evolution X R4 rounding the top four.
With two events to spare, Chatte’s finish just outside the podium was enough to maintain his lead atop the KNRC log with spectators at the Park given a petrol head thrill that left them yearning for more.
Drivers were faced with dusty conditions on a chilly morning before the second loop around the same stages proved more challenging after a consistent drizzle left the roads slippery.
Ian Duncan in an EVO X was well on course for a podium but punctures saw him slide down the finishing order to seventh.
Rajbir Rai and two times Uganda Champion Jas Mangat were among the top casualties of the demanding rally.
Rai who was second in Eldoret retired on CS4 while the Ugandan suffered low turbo pressure on CS2.
Physically challenged driver Nikhil Sachania also retired in the sixth round of the season.
“We just lost it at a blind corner where the surface changed suddenly from dry to very wet. Fortunately, we are fine though our car is damaged underneath on the front.
“We are out of the rally. Evans also hit the same stump and parked next to me. Sad but that’s it,” Nikhil who bowed out CS5 after his Fiat Grande Punto S2000 after he slid off the road and hit a tree stump rued.
The same corner claimed the Subaru Impreza of Evans Kamau where no injuries were report. The next round of the KNRC heads to Nakuru next month.
Provisional final Results
- Tapio Laukannen (Subaru R4) 1:28.36
- Carl “Flash” Tundo (EVOX) 1:30.10
- Baldev Singh Chager (EVOX) 1:30.19
- Jaspreet Singh Chatthe 1:30.48
- Karan Patel (EVOX) 1:33.10
- Manvir Baryan (Ford Fiesta R5) 1:33.32
- Ian Duncan (EVOX) 1:34.18
- Onkar Singh Rai (EVOX) 1:34.38
- Raaji Bharij (EVOX) 1:35.19
- Quentin Mitchell Skoda Fabia S2000 1:36.37
KCB MACHAKOS RALLY 2015
Overall winner: Tapio Laukkanen (1st overall)
2WD: Eric Bengi (18th overall)
Group N: Carl Tundo (2nd overall)
Classic Class: Tejveer Rai (16th overall)
SPV: Kirit Rajput (21st overall)
S Class: Taiti Wachira (20th overall)
Division 1: Karan Patel (5th overall)
Division 2: Eric Bengi (18th overall)
Division 3: Jansher Sandhu (15th overall)