NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 23 – Veteran Kenyan rally driver Ian Duncan and Hussein Malik chose to recce in a Landcruiser 80 series from the early 1990’s ahead of this weekend’s ARC Equator Rally.
On his part, Issa Amwari and Job Njiru preferred to recce in a Toyota Sprinter; a vehicle with less ground clearance.
This is after the drivers got acquainted with the route while their crews ensured that the cars went through scrutineering and passed.
Bright and early this morning, the rally drivers and their navigators did a recce in all the seven stages that will make up this rally. The navigators were adding a personal touch to the rally notes that have been issued to them.
Being termed as a navigators rally, drivers will depend more on their navigators as they try to get through the stages seamlessly without any accidents or incidents and at the best speed and accuracy possible.
Musa Locho, the FIA Technical Delegate who was in charge of accessing the 33 entrants of the ARC Equator Rally, said that his team was tasked to ensure that all the vehicles have met the safety requirements required by FIA for this Rally.
In particular, they look at the vehicle’s basics, that is the lights, wipers and so on, they go on to check the homologation of the seats, safety harness, roll cage, the drivers racing kit, helmet and balaclava.
The vehicle is then fitted with a tracking device. They go on to seal a number of parts to ensure they are not replaced during the rally. These include parts like the vehicles diffs, the turbo gearbox just to mention a few.
Recce is usually done in a usual vehicle and not the actual rally car. The sections opened bright and early and had a set amount of time in which they should have completed their drive around the section.
George Njoroge, the Stage Commander for Elementaita for example closed his section for rally drivers Recce by 10:20 am on Friday to allow others go through the stage to know exactly where they will be positioned during the rally.
Good Ground clearance helps the drivers navigate tricky rocky routes much faster. Lower vehicles like the EVO 10 tend to damage their oil coolers that is situated between the front wheel and the vehicles Bumper. Hitting a rock or tree at high speed could mean the end of the rally.
Capital Sport met up with State House Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita who will be co-driven by Tuta Mionki. The duo started off with the first stage for day 1 at the beginning of the stage of Elementaita.
They were full of excitement as they went into the section full of anticipation.
“We are using this rally to gauge our preparedness for the WRC Safari Rally in June,” Said Waita.
Nzioka and Tuta will be teaming up for the first time. Tuta used to navigate Eric Bengi.
Nzioka will be racing with his Mitsubishi Evolution R4.
The Service park has seen the Rally teams move out of their comfort zone as they tried to put final touches to their vehicles ahead of Scrutineering.
Behind the scenes, there were teams that have been burning the midnight oil to ensure that everything is ready and that the event goes like clockwork.
According to Linus Wahome, the Chief Marshall, all support crew; like the MIV (Medical intervention Vehicle, TIV (Technical intervention vehicle) Marshalls, Radio crew Stage Commanders and others will have to be positioned at their stages as early as 5:00am.
This is three hours before the first car goes through. This allows for the safety delegation to go round and ensure that everybody is in place and are ready for the rally vehicles that will start coming in at exactly 8:00am.
The drivers will assemble at the Lodia Stage which doubles up as the Shakedown. They will be allowed free practice between 8:00am to 10:30am. This will be followed by the Qualifying for the ARC entries only and finally the actual shakedown for the pre-registered drivers.
The vehicles will then head to Service Park for a ceremonial start followed by an overnight Parc Ferme at the KWS training Institute in Naivasha.
The vehicles will stay there until the following day ready for the commencement of the competitive sections in their new pecking order.
Musa Locho like many rally crew and fans can’t wait to see who will emerge victorious now that Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo finally places him in the highly coveted R5 crew.
The Minti Sport R5 will complete with Tejveer Rai’s Kabras Sugars sponsored VW RC2 R5, Onkar Rai’s Kabras Sugars sponsored VW RC2 R5, Karan Patels Ford Fiesta RC2 R5, Uk’s Pratul Ghose Minti Sports VW RC2 R5, Aakif Viranis Skoda Fabia RC2 R5, South Africa’s Toyota Etios RC2 R5.
-By Suleiman Munyua-