BY ABDUL SIDI
The battle for the 2014 Kenya National Rally Championship title resumes in the KCB Safari Rally despite the major part of the focus being on the African Rally Championship.
Jaspreet Chatthe, one of the most outstanding drivers of the season so far not only in the local KCB-sponsored series but also in the Africa Rally Championship (ARC) circuit, leads the Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) table with 210 points.
Chatthe also features in the ARC table where he is placed third behind Gary Chanyes of Cote d’Ivoire and Zambia’s Mohamed Essa.
Many of the local championship contenders look at the Safari Rally as an opportunity to score valuable points.
The Safari is the only event out of the eight rounds of the KNRC that offers the biggest chunk of points to the finishers with the winner scoring 120 points while winners in any of the other KNRC events score 80 points.
Chatthe caused a major surprise in the KCB Nanyuki Rally where he won his first-ever rally since coming into the scene over two years ago.
To prove that this was not a fluke, he went on to win the Tanzania Rally in the ARC series in a Mitsubishi EVO10.
However, the battle for the KNRC series remains wide open with a maximum of 280 points to score from the last three rounds of the series beginning with the KCB Safari Rally, Kisumu and Guru Nanak respectively.
Defending champion and former Safari Rally winner, Baldev Chager (Mitsubishi) and Carl Tundo (Proton) are placed in the second and third place with 200 and 176 points respectively.
Another sensational young driver, Rajbir Rai is placed fourth with 170 points.
Like Chatthe, Rai scored his maiden victory in the KCB Nakuru Rally before going on to make history in the Uganda Rally where he became the first Kenyan driver ever to win the home round of the ARC.
Meanwhile, Kenya’s chances of returning to the the World Rally Championship circuit will heavily depend on the outcome of this year’s Safari Rally which will be run in areas around Nanyuki.
After the flag off at Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi, action in this year’s event will quickly move to Nanyuki.
Migaa Farm in Kiambu will host the opening spectator stage followed by another one in Naro Moro before Nanyuki takes over the balance of the rest of the major action.
Baitain View will remain as the sole spectator stage open to the public with the others closed for safety reasons and as demanded by the owners of the land.
The stage will be tackled on four different occasions — once on Friday, twice on Saturday and once on Sunday respectively.
Courtesy of nation.co.ke