NAIROBI, Kenya, July 18 – Rally drivers and navigators are all set for the tussle of positions in various divisions of the 2016 Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) when the KCB Wundanyi Rally gets under way in Taita Taveta county this weekend.
The rally starts at KCB Wundanyi branch on Saturday at 0700 HRS and ends at Rukinga airstrip, with a super special at Mwatunge Primary School.
KNRC Divisions were introduced by the Rallies Commission of KMSF a few years back to whip-up the enthusiasm of crews at various levels of competition.
Apart from the main KNRC category which has always attracted considerable interest amongst spectators, it will be interesting to see how the Divisions’ battles unfold from behind the scenes.
Shamba Boyz team of Mahesh Halai and Ketan Halai will be out to maintain their Division Two lead.
Mahesh and Ketan lead the KNRC Division two log with 53 points ahead of Eric Bengi and Mombasa based Adil Mirza.
“We will test today (Tuesday) to see what needs to be fine tuned ahead of the rally. Basically its a performance test and the strategy for Wundanyi Rally is to keep a consistent pace and since the stages are quite rough, we will have to avoid any damage to the car,” said Mahesh.
The battle for Two Wheel Drive class will pit champion and series leader Leonardo Varese against Alex Lairang’i, Sammy Nyorri and Eric Bengi.
Bengi who is the fastest driver in 2WD currently suffered a DNF (non finish) on Safari which dipped him from the summit to third on the log.
Varese, who has candidly admitted that Bengi’s pace is out of this world, is looking to uphold his 100percent finish record despite having not won a single event thus far this season.
Lairang’i who is placed second after winning his category on the Safari hopes to maintain a good pace.
Farhaaz Khan of Oilibya Racing team will be going for the jugular in his bid to kill two birds with one stone.
Farhaaz who is teaming up with Keith Henrie in an ex Jassi Chatthe Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 10 hopes to improve on his third position in Group N behind Ian Duncan and Baldev Chager. Chager has since upgraded from Group N to R4 which works out really well for Farhaaz on championship points.
Khan is places a distant second to Onkar Rai in Division one though.
“The essence is bringing back the car back in one piece to ensure that we score as many points as possible,” said Farhaaz.
Safari 2016 is an event Keith and Farhaaz will not forget in along time.
“We managed seventh overall, second in Division 1 and third in group N. We were happy with our strategy of driving consistently which paid off.
Having not finished the last round in Kisumu due to a broken gearbox the result comes at a right time and puts us back in the championship fight,” said Farhaaz who hopes we can continue the positive momentum in Wundanyi.
Meanwhile, the battle for the Classic Car Cup points should also give the Mombasa Motor Club organised Wundanyi tour some zest with Jonathan Somen eager to maintain his lead against Ramesh Vishram. Both Somen and Vishram will be driving Ford Escort Mk2. Wundayi Rally counts towards the fourth round of the 2016 KNRC. Wundanyi marks the halfway stage of the eight leg series.
The event has attracted drivers from across the county and should draw thousands of fans considering its proximity from Mombasa and Voi.
KNRC STANDINGS AFTER ROUND 3
- Leonardo Varese 68
- Alex Lairang’i 59
- Eric Bengi 50
- Jonathan Somen 25
- Ramesh Vishram 21
- Dinesh Sachania 18
- Onkar Rai 84
- Farhaaz Khan 47
- Izhar Mirza 36
- Mahesh Halai 53
- Eric Bengi 48
- Adil Mirza 45
- Natasha Tundo 71
- Chandrakant Devji 66
- Edward Maina 50
- Ian Duncan 63
- Baldev Chager 48
- Farhaaz Khan 37
- Chandrakan Devji 78
- Edward Maina 74
- Jasmeet Chana 25
- Adil Mirza 57
- Asad Khan 38
- Geoff Mayes 27
Additional Reporting by Attex Motorsports..