NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 7 – The Kabras Sugar racing team looks to start their 2020 campaign on a high as they prepare for the season opening Guru Nanak Rally at Stoni Athi this weekend.
The Sikh Union event will offer a unique challenge for the team’s three crews with stages held in unpredictable weather conditions and indeed the much anticipated power stage which will offer them opportunities for bonus points.
After a title-winning 2019 season by Baldev Chager and Ravi Soni, the team drivers are determined to keep the same momentum and clinch a consecutive crown.
Chager and Soni will pilot the R4 version of Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 10, while Rai siblings are set to ruffle feathers in their identical VW Polo R5 contraptions.
Tejveer’s VW Polo is the latest R5 machine to hit Kenyan gravel following flamboyant and fearless onslaughts by the Skodas of Manvir Baryan and Onkar which dictated KNRC pace last season.
Onkar upgraded to a VW Polo R5 on Mombasa Rally where his spirited run ended in retirement in the early morning Day Two stretch where he ran out of fuel.
Although no one has a clue what’s up the sleeves of the Polo siblings, this will be known when the rubber meets Stoni Athi gravel.
-New season ambitions
After the conclusion of the 2019 season in Eldoret, Kabras drivers made no secret of their ambitions to win the overall drivers’ and co-drivers’ championships in 2020.
Onkar said in the season closing Eldoret round that he will definitely give Chager and Tundo a run for their money.
The three-car Kabras outfit is expected to focus more on maximizing the reliability and performance of their cars ostensibly to fight at the very front at every round.
The team is well-versed in the complexities of Guru Nanak where Onkar made his debut in 2010. Chager will be spurred on by two Guru Nanak titles that he won with the late Farakh Yusuf in a Subaru Impreza in 2004 and with Soni in 2013.
Teji who made his debut on Voi Rally in 2006 could be a dark horse for the title. Kabras will face stiff opposition from their Menengai Cream and Top Fry stablemates Eric Bengi and Carl “Flash” Tundo respectively.
The event will be flagged off from KCB Kitengela Branch on Sunday morning. Scrutineering and recce will take place on Saturday at Sikh Union Club Nairobi.
-Karan first off
Karan Patel in a Ford Fiesta R5 will be the first off the ramp followed by Eric Bengi and Tejveer.
Ian Duncan, the most successful KNRC driver with a record seven national titles, will be going for a record 12th Guru Nanak title in his Nissan Patrol pickup and navigated by Tej Sehmi.
Seeded fifth is Tundo who will be followed by Onkar. Onkar begins the season with his professional British navigator Stuart Loudon. Behind Onkar will be his teammates Chager and Ravi Soni.
Reigning Group N Champion Jasmeet Chana is seeded eighth in a CRS Racing Mitsubishi Evolution 10.
Ugandan Christakis Fitidis and his Rwandan partner Eric Nzamwita have also signed up in pursuit of East African Rally Challenge (EARC) points uo against Kenyans and compatriot Yasin Nasser.
“We have been to Kenya twice, first on the 2017 Safari where we finished 26th overall and then in 2019 during the WRC candidate event where we came 9th. Guru Nanak will be our third outing on Kenyan soil,” the Ugandan said.