NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 5 – The introduction of a power stage in the National Competition Rules (NCRs) will add the much-needed zest to this weekend’s Guru Nanak Rally slated for Stony Athi on Sunday, according to competing drivers.
Mombasa based rally navigator Victor Okundi says the power stage will enhance competition and give spectators and crews scintillating racing experience.
“It’s a welcome opportunity to score points and make it more competitive. So one would just have to fight to be in the top 10 then fight tooth and nail for the top three slots for extra points. Not a bad idea,” said Okundi.
Group N Champion and Premier Class driver Jasmeet Chana is excited that the power stage is being introduced in a year Kenya is rejoining the WRC.
“It couldn’t have come at a better time when Kenya is preparing for global status. Being a key ingredient of the WRC competition, it will definitely see drivers give it that extra push for points,” Chana said.
Power stages have over the years been synonymous with World Rally Championship (WRC) events.
They are usually run as a final stage of a rally in the WRC with additional championship points for the top five crews through the stage. This is regardless of where they are classified in a rally.
-Few and far in between
Locally, power stages have been few and far between and devoid of bonus points. But following the timely addendum onto the National Competition Rules, crews will now be privileged to score bonus points following the running of the power-stage.
Raju Chaggar, who is the Clerk of the course of tyhe season-opening Guru Nanak Rally, recently, in an pre-event bulletin, nominated the repeat run of the SGR section as the power stage; where spectators will savoir exhilarating displays and crews treated to some hair-raising cockpit thrills.
Guru Nanak, one of the most prestigious rounds of the eight-leg National Rally Championship, will be flagged off from KCB Kitengela Branch then head straight to SGR, Stoni Athi and Kifaru regions for action proper.
KMSF General Manager Mwaura Njoroge reckoned that the power stage facet “will no doubt add the much-needed zest to spectators and competitors alike.”
“The power stage will be less than 5km of similar surface to the event and can’t be part of the SSS (Super Special Stage). But organizers will be required to declare in the Supplementary Regulations (pre-event set of rules) which stage will be the power stage,”
“The most interesting aspect of it is that retirees of the rally can come back to do the power stage if it is logistically possible, but at the discretion of the Clerk of the Course and the Stewards. In a nutshell, power stages will be designed with speed and aptitude in mind,” Mwaura explained.
According to the local regulations, points will only be scored in the overall KNRC Class with the fastest crew taking three points, second fastest two points and third fastest one point.
The points on the power stage will be additional to what drivers score in the championship.
Meanwhile, KMSF has made several changes to the NCRs this year. Other than the inclusion of the power stage rule, the points scoring system has also changed.
Unlike in the past when the winner racked up 25 points, this time round the maximum points scope is 30 points followed by 24 for number twos and 21 for the number threes. In 2020, it will also be mandatory for competing cars to have an environmental blanket to mitigate silage.
Another new rule in 2020 will see the competitive element of the rally finish at the end of the “Finish Time Control In.”
The Prize Giving will commence after the last car in the parc ferme and 30 minutes have elapsed since the publication of the Provisional Unofficial Classification to allow for any protests at the end of the rally.
KMSF has also included a new category in T4 Cross Country class which will feature massive machines like Tomcats and Range Rovers.
What’s more, the top eight seeded drivers in the previous season, and who have renewed their license in the current year, will rotate in the staring order regardless of their seeding.
2020 KENYA NATIONAL RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP CALENDAR
February 8-9: KNRC 1- Guru Nanak Rally (Sikh Union Nairobi)
March 7-8: KNRC 2- Nakuru Rally (Rift Valley Motor & Sports Club)
April 4-5: KNRC 3- Mombasa Rally (Mombasa Motor Club)
June 6-7: KNRC 4- KMSC Rally (Kenya Motor Sport Club)
July 18-19: KNRC 5-WRC Safari Rally Kenya
August 29-30: KNRC 6-Nanyuki Rally (Nanyuki Rally Group)
October 3-4: KNRC 7- RSC Rally (Rallye Sports Club)
November 7-8: KNRC 8 – VCCCK Rally (Vintage and Classic Car Club of Kenya)