NAIROBI, Kenya, May 13 – Former Britain and Finland champion Tapio Laukkanen claimed his third successive rally victory in Eldoret after leading from the third to last stage in the third round of the Kenya National Rally (KNRC) Championship on Saturday.
The Flying Finn jointly led the opening Sergoit stage of the Raiply Eldoret Rally with Jaspreet Chatthe but lost the lead to the latter on the first run of the spectator stage at Chemweno farm.
Fears of a cliff hanger however, evaporated soon enough when Tapio bounced back to beat Chatthe by 1:08 minutes on the long 33km Chebiemit stage.
Tapio racked up his maiden victory in Eldoret in the 2015 edition at the world famous Flourspar- Nyaru and repeated the feat twice in Moiben area in 2016 and 2017.
This was Tapio’s second win of the season after retiring from the season opening Mombasa Cement Rally and clinching his maiden Africa Rally Championship (ARC) Safari Rally in Naivasha and Nakuru.
As Tapio kept increasing the lead, Chatthe, Baldev Chager and Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo were having a big scrap.
Chatthe settled for second place as Baldev Chager sealed the podium dash. Carl Tundo took fourth position with Manvir fifth.
Tapio’s Gavin Laurence was all smiles, “It is a great feeling not only winning but keeping up with the pace with one of the quickest drivers I have ever navigated. Yes, quite a great feeling.”
Among the casualties in the Western Kenya Motor Club organized and Raiply sponsored were Tejveer Rai with fuel pump problems and Eric Bengi who was time barred.
Karan Patel and Ian Duncan dropped time after picking up punctures.
A total of 20 cars were flagged off by Philip Varghese, Director Raiply. First out was Chatthe, then Duncan and Mombada Rally winner Manvir.
Competitors covered seven competitive stages around Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo Marakwet counties during the day. The spectator sage at Chemweno Farm was run twice.
Despite rain scares, the route course turned out to be dry and dusty.
- Tapio Laukkanen/Gavin Laurence (Subaru GVB) 01:22:28
- Jassi Chatthe/Gugu Panesar (Mitsubishi Evolution X) 01:25:40
- Baldev Chager/ Ravi Soni (Mitsubishi Evolution X) 01:25.55:
- Carl Tundo/ Tim Jessop (Mitsubishi Evolution X) 01:26.15
- Manvir Baryan/ Drew Sturrock (Skoda Fabia R5) 01:26:43
- Onkar Rai (Skoda Fabia R5) 01:27:19
- Karan Patel (Mitsubishi Evolution X) 01:28.01
- Amaanraj Rai 01:30.41
Farhaaz Khan (Mitsubishi Evolution X) 01:10:55:0
- Ian Duncan/ Amaar Slatch (Mitsubishi Evolution X) 01:30.46
- Farhaaz Khan/ Keith Henrie (Mitsubishi Evolution X) 01:31.16