NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 28 – Reigning three-time FIA African Rally Champion Manvir Baryan will be the star attraction when the fifth round of the 2019 KCB Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) revs off in Nanyuki on Saturday.
Baryan will be teaming up with British navigator Drew Sturrock in a Skoda Fabia R5 which swept the ground all and sundry in the Kilifi Rally earlier in the month.
Having already taken some impressive scalps on the continental arena, the MRT Racing crew is hoping to rack up their maiden national title this season after sealing a hat trick of African Rally Championship titles between 2017 to 2019.
Despite missing out on the season opening rally in Nakuru and finishing second in the Safari, Baryan has no doubt been the fastest driver in 2019 with his crowd pleasing Skoda Fabia R5 machine better known as “The Rat”.
The Nanyuki event welcomes back three more KNRC Premier Class drivers who missed out on the tour of Kilifi.
Legendary six time champion Ian Duncan in his traditional Hilux pick up, Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo and Eric Bengi are making their resurgence on the Nanyuki Rally Group organised round.
With series leader Baldev Chager and VW Polo R5 driver Onkar Rai also in the Premier Class mix, Nanyuki should be fast and furious.
“Nanyuki is my favorite event of them all. Reason for not doing Kilifi was that the events were too close together plus I had a family commitment to attend to. I am still in the hunt for the championship but missing Kilifi has made it more difficult,” Tundo said.
Manvir’s navigator Sturrock reiterated that MRT Racing are not relenting in their quest for more points.
“We have never won the KNRC title so this year we want to achieve a big dream. Of course we want to achieve victory in every round that we do and at the end of the season take the main trophy, ” said Sturrock.
Manvir’s second career victory in Kilifi saw him and his British partner leapfrog to second position on the KNRC log. They dislodged the Top Fry team of “Flash” Tundo and Tim Jessop from second position.
Chager consolidated his lead with 102 points after coming second in Kilifi as Manvir surged on with 73, two better than Tundo. Chager says he will fight to maintain his lead this weekend.
“Like every rally we want to do our best and gain maximum points. So that’s our plan in Nanyuki. We will continue to push harder and keep up with the Skoda and Polo, but R5s will definitely be strong through and through,” said Chager
Bengi has had a long period to sort out his reliability gremlins after skipping the Kilifi event but is backing off this time round in his bid to secure a maiden finish.
Bengi said: “It’s been some time since we drove the car. We had a long repair period after the Safari breakdown. We also couldn’t make it to Kilifi. Nanyuki is usually a very good event for us over the seasons and we are hoping to have good tidings this time round. Our plan is to take an easy drive drive for a finish, which we have really missed.”
KNRC STANDINGS AFTER KILIFI RALLY
1 Baldev Singh Chager 102
2 Manvir Baryan 73
3 Carl “Flash” Tundo 71
4 Tejveer Singh Rai 51
5 Izhar Mirza 33
6 Onkar Singh Rai 25
Sohanjeet Singh Puee 25
8 Ammar ‘Bushy’ Haq 24
9 Ian Duncan 23
10 Jasmeet Chana 19