NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 28 – After five years of waiting, MRT driver Manvir Baryan savored his maiden Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) victory on the season opening Mombasa Rally on Saturday.
Manvir, driving in Skoda Fabia 1600 R5 machine, won four out of five stages and had his campaign effectively sewn up when his teammate and defending champion Tapio Laukkanen kissed the Mombasa Motor Club organised round goodbye with a broken ball joint on the second section.
Manvir’s calm and assured march into last service belied the excitement that was bubbling underneath and it exploded into a solid steam of joy at prize giving.
Six times former Kenya champion Ian Duncan won Group N category in second overall position while multiple Safari winner Carl “Flash” Tundo sealed the podium dash in Onkar Rai’s Mitsubishi Evolution X.
Youngster Karan Patel was all smiles with a career best fourth.
The searing North Coast temperatures and the rocky nature of the route course at Mombasa Cement farm saw several drivers fall by the wayside.
Tapio won the opening stage of the day but went out in the second stage with a broken ball joint.
Jasmeet Chana of CRS racing did not start the second section after suffering power steering problems.
Onkar Singh Rai on his very first outing in his VW R5 also retired in the third section. The Hai Rally Chix of Natasha Tundo and Chantal Young also retired in the second section.
Sportpesa rally team of Leonardo Varese and Kigo Kareithi emerged the winners of Two wheel.
“We are happy to win in Mombasa on our last outing with the Corolla. This is definitely a good way to start the championship and we are hoping to use our new Toyota Auris in the Safari in March,” said the four times former Two Wheel champion Varese.
The two wheel drive class had five starters and only one finisher.
The 2WD casualties were Sammy Nyorri on Cs1, Daren Miranda on CS2, Subaru débutante Arjun Pattni and Sam Karangatha.
Manvir Baryan said: “We have been waiting for this win for a long time and I’m chuffed that it has finally happened. We had no technical issues today but had no intension to attack when we left the first control. But as soon as Tapio retired we were in the lead and clung to it to the very end. The rally was rally was quite challenging with no straights and countless corners.”
Karan Patel who participated in five Europe based WRCs was happy with his career best finish.
“It quite a good feeling bringing back our Evo10 back in fourth. The track was very rough and tested the the car’s structural integrity and our preparedness. So I appreciate my engineer for the car and the work he has done. We were not trying to push our car though because we were behind Tundo who is much faster than us,£ Karan said.
Mombasa Cement Limited’s Chandra Shekhar was the chief guest.
Mombasa Motor Club were the title sponsors after donating 250 acres of land for use in the KNRC 1 and 100kms of graded roads.
Out of the 34 starters only 12 survived the demanding course.
The second round of the KNRC will be the Safari Rally on March 18-19. The Safari returns to the FIA African Rally Championship after a two years hiatus.
- Manvir Baryan 1:43.12
- Ian Duncan 1:45.00
- Carl Tundo 1:45.17
- Karan Patel 1:47.58
- Tejveer Rai 1:51.30
- Baldev Chager 1:54.43